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California Commissioner Issues Auto Collision Repair Regulations

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones issued new Auto Collision Repair Labor Rate Survey Regulations that he said will increase consumer protections when a damaged vehicle is repaired.

The new regulation sets forth voluntary standards for insurers to accurately and reliably survey auto body repair labor rates to ensure they are paying the reasonable and proper amount. The regulation goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2017. However, these newly adopted regulations are part of the Fair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations, which contain a delayed compliance date in order to give insurers, who choose to use these voluntary regulations, additional time to comply. The earliest compliance date is Feb. 28, 2017.

To view the full text of the regulation, please click here.

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Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Proposes Leaving Emissions Standards in Place

WASHINGTON — Based on extensive technical analysis that shows automakers are well positioned to meet greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for model years 2022-2025, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy today proposed leaving the standards in place, so the program that was established in 2012 will stay on track to nearly double fuel economy, dramatically cut carbon pollution, maintain regulatory certainty for a global industry, and save American drivers billions of dollars at the pump. See the EPA’s full release here.

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The European Commission Releases Strategy on Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems

On November 30th, 2016, the European Commission released a strategy on Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS). The strategy offers a step-by-step guidance for coordinated deployment of connected and automated vehicles across the European Union. The initial phase is slated to begin in 2019. To view the entire document, click here.

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U.S. DOT and NHTSA Issue Cybersecurity Best Practices Guidelines to the Automotive Industry

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is taking a proactive safety approach to protect vehicles from malicious cyber-attacks and unauthorized access by releasing proposed guidance for improving motor vehicle cybersecurity.

“Cybersecurity is a safety issue, and a top priority at the Department,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Our intention with today’s guidance is to provide best practices to help protect against breaches and other security failures that can put motor vehicle safety.”

The proposed cybersecurity guidance focuses on layered solutions to ensure vehicle systems are designed to take appropriate and safe actions, even when an attack is successful. The guidance recommends risk-based prioritized identification and protection of critical vehicle controls and consumers’ personal data. Further, it recommends that companies should consider the full life-cycle of their vehicles and facilitate rapid response and recovery from cybersecurity incidents.

See NHTSA’s full release here.

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OSHA Updates Guidelines for Safety and Health Programs

OSHA has recently updated the Guidelines for Safety and Health Programs it first released 30 years ago, to reflect changes in the economy, workplaces, and evolving safety and health issues. The new Recommended Practices have been well received by a wide variety of stakeholders and are designed to be used in a wide variety of small and medium-sized business settings. The Recommended Practices present a step-by-step approach to implementing a safety and health program, built around seven core elements that make up a successful program.

See more 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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