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Registration Now Open for Third Annual Automotive Safety Inspection Forum

On October 19, 2016, the Automotive Service Association (ASA), and ASA-Texas will host the third annual safety inspection forum in Houston, Texas area.

A lack of regular maintenance poses a risk to the safety of the vehicle owner, his or her passengers, other drivers, pedestrians, and property. In addition, it hurts the long-term value of the vehicle. Safety inspections have been proven to reduce the number accidents caused by vehicle defects, preserve the quality safety-related vehicle components, and diminish the amount of fatal accidents.

Join us this fall for a half-day forum in Texas to determine how best to promote the importance of preventative maintenance programs. Register is free and open to the public. Sign up here.

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U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Asks NHTSA to Address OBD-II Port Security Risks

On September 12th, 2016, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), along with subcommittee chairmen Greg Walden (R-OR), Tim Murphy (R-PA), and Michael Burgess (R-TX), submitted a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), requesting the formation of a stakeholder group to develop a strategy to address the potential security risks posed by automotive On-Board diagnostics ports (OBD-II). OBD-II ports were first mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1994 as a means to test vehicle emissions under the Clean Air Act. Since then, the use of OBD-II ports has expanded to include repair diagnostics for both technicians and consumers.

To see the full text of the letter, click here.

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NHTSA Publishes Proposed Rule on Recall Notification, Requesting Public Comment

On September 1st, 2016 the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), released a proposed rule that would require manufacturers to notify consumers of outstanding recalls by electronic means in addition to first-class mail.

The proposal would also allow NHTSA to require manufacturers to send additional notifications if the agency determines that an inadequate number of vehicles have been returned for remedy. To see the full text of the proposed rule, please click here.

 

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Privacy and Consumer Advocacy Groups Urge Oversight of Dedicated Short Range Communications Systems

In 2015, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx announced a series of initiatives to speed the development of advanced technologies that could enhance highway safety. Among those initiatives was an effort to prepare to test the safety impact of wireless devices designed to share the section of the radio spectrum reserved for vehicle safety applications such as vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications (the Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC, 5850–5925 MHz)) spectrum band.

DSRC is a two-way short- to- medium-range wireless communications capability that permits very high data transmission critical in communications-based active safety applications. In Report and Order FCC-03-324, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allocated 75 MHz of spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band for use by Intelligent Transportations Systems (ITS) vehicle safety and mobility applications.

As DSRC systems become more prevalent in today’s vehicles, privacy and consumer groups have raised concerns about potential vulnerabilities, arguing that these communications may allow access to private information or increase the likelihood of cyber attacks. These groups are also concerned about the automakers’ intent to use the DSRC for commercial applications. On August 24, 2016, 18 consumer groups submitted a letter to the FCC  urging the commission to prevent the auto industry from using spectrum set aside for vehicle-to-vehicle communications for commercial applications. See the full text of the letter here.

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EPA and DOT Finalize Greenhouse Gas and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration jointly finalized standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that would improve fuel efficiency and cut carbon pollution to reduce the impacts of climate change, while bolstering energy security and spurring manufacturing innovation.

The final phase two program promotes a new generation of cleaner, more fuel efficient trucks by encouraging the development and deployment of new and advanced cost-effective technologies. Read EPA’s full release here.

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U.S. Senators Call on Honda to Immediately Issue “Do Not Drive” Order for Certain Takata Air Bags

After new data revealed that Takata air bags in certain Honda and Acura vehicles have a 50 percent chance of rupture in a crash, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) are calling on Honda to immediately issue a “do not drive” order to owners vehicles with these dangerous air bags. In a letter to Honda, the Senators urged Honda to take the strongest possible action to ensure that vehicles with such air bags are immediately removed from the road before more people are killed. They also called on the company to take additional measures to make it as easy as possible for owners of these vehicles to have this dangerous defect repaired, without having to drive the vehicle to a dealership. To see the full text of the letter, click here.

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Treasury’s Federal Insurance Office Announces Adoption of Methodology for Monitoring the Affordability of Auto Insurance

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Federal Insurance Office (FIO) today announced the adoption of a methodology for monitoring the affordability of automobile insurance.  Title V of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act authorizes FIO to monitor the extent to which traditionally underserved communities and consumers, minorities, and low- and moderate-income persons have access to affordable insurance products regarding all lines of insurance other than health insurance. For more information, click here.

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California Air Resources Board Issues Notice to Distributors of Automotive Refrigerant

The sale of automotive refrigerant is regulated in California, and retailers  must ensure that all requirements pertaining to the sales of certified products are met. In addition, distributors handling this product have regulatory requirements to meet as well. Penalties may be assessed for a violation of this regulation pursuant to the Health and Safety Code. To view the exact requirements for California retailers, please click here.

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Volkswagen to Spend Up to $14.7 Billion to Settle Allegations of Cheating Emissions Tests and Deceiving Customers on 2.0 Liter Diesel Vehicles

In two related settlements, one with the United States and the State of California, and one with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), German automaker Volkswagen AG and related entities have agreed to spend up to $14.7 billion to settle allegations of cheating emissions tests and deceiving customers. Volkswagen will offer consumers a buyback and lease termination for nearly 500,000 model year 2009-2015 2.0 liter diesel vehicles sold or leased in the U.S., and spend up to $10.03 billion to compensate consumers under the program. In addition, the companies will spend $4.7 billion to mitigate the pollution from these cars and invest in green vehicle technology.

For more information, click here.

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NHTSA Data Shows Traffic Deaths up 7.7 Percent in 2015

WASHINGTON – Preliminary data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show a 7.7 percent increase in motor vehicle traffic deaths in 2015. An estimated 35,200 people died in 2015, up from the 32,675 reported fatalities in 2014.

“Every American should be able to drive, ride or walk to their destination safely, every time,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We are analyzing the data to determine what factors contributed to the increase in fatalities and at the same time, we are aggressively testing new safety technologies, new ways to improve driver behavior, and new ways to analyze the data we have, as we work with the entire road safety community to take this challenge head-on.” Read more here.

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