State Legislatures Examine Several Auto Glass Issues
Each year the Auto Glass Safety Council (AGSC) reviews dozens of state legislative proposals that may affect the business operations of auto glass services companies. These proposals cover several different topics and sometimes overlap. It is also likely that similar bills are introduced in more than one state as legislators share information through their regional and national associations, and corporate lobbyists and other advocates implement their own national strategies.
The following is a brief review of some of the types of legislative bills that AGSC has reviewed in 2022:
Auto Glass Replacement Safety
Bills that would incorporate auto glass replacement safety standards like the AGRSS Standard into state law were introduced in Massachusetts and Virginia. The bills task an appropriate state agency, the Registrar of Motor Vehicles in Massachusetts, and the State Police in Virginia, with writing auto glass replacement safety regulations. The bills were received in their respective states. In Virginia, the House Transportation Committee continued the bill to 2023. The Massachusetts Joint Committee on Transportation has yet to act on the legislation. The 2022 bills were similar to a law passed in Maryland in 2021. In that state, the Department of Motor Vehicles promulgated regulations similar to the AGRSS standard that became effective on March 7, 2022.
As more and more ADAS-equipped vehicles are on our roads, state legislatures are becoming increasingly interested in the need to calibrate after performing a windshield replacement. Two states, Utah in its 2020-21 session and Arizona in 2022, have enacted legislation addressing this issue. Illinois and Maryland considered such bills in 2022 but did not pass them.
The Arizona law is a more targeted version of the Utah law. It requires auto glass replacement companies to tell customers about calibration and provide an itemized description of the work to be performed. It also requires that the recalibration meets or exceeds the manufacturer’s specifications. It prohibits glass companies from representing that the cost of a replacement will be paid entirely by the insurer unless the customer’s insurance policy fully covers it. Arizona imposes a $2,500 fine for each violation of the statute.
The bill’s text was initially introduced in Arizona, and those presented in Illinois and Maryland were similar to the previously passed Utah law.
The latter law includes a provision that insurance companies “may not be required to pay more than a fair and competitive price for the local market area.” It limited the civil fine to $500, however. Other 2022 legislation also included provisions that further addressed billing practices.
Bills are usually introduced in several states each year that seek to include the repair of windshield chips and cracks within the legal insurance code definition of a “service contract.” This means if a vehicle owner entered into such a contract with an insurance/repair provider, the contract would be required to cover the cost of the repair of windshield chips and cracks. This type of legislation was enacted in Wyoming this year and is close to being enacted in New Jersey. South Dakota passed legislation that exempts automobile service contracts from the state insurance code and specifically allows for windshield repair or replacement because of a road hazard to be covered by such a contract.
Assignment of Benefits
Some states, especially ones with zero deductibles, seek consumer protection legislation that would curb practices that might reduce the burden on the insurance industry and prevent unnecessary windshield replacements. These bills would prohibit glass companies from offering rebates, gift cards, or anything of value to potential customers in exchange for assigning their insurance benefits and replacing their windshield. The issue is particularly controversial in Florida, where Senate legislation has stalled in committee in
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