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  News Briefs

Posted 2/13/2012

By Levy Joffrion

AYES awardWhite Auto Body Donates Two Cars

Just as they have for 12 years, Valerie and Steve White of White Auto Body, an ASA-member, which has shops in Florissant and O'Fallon, Mo., gave refurbished cars during the holiday season to people who needed them but could not afford to purchase one.

The recipients were Christy Purvey, who resides in St. Charles, Mo., with her husband and their three sons (see adjacent photo). They had a vehicle but it broke down and they subsequently lost their jobs. Both have been offered jobs and they will be able to return to the work force now that they have dependable transportation, a “new” 2001 Nissan Sentra.

Shaneka Lewis lives in St. Louis with her daughter (photo above). Lewis works as a nursing assistant. She did not have a vehicle of her own and used public transportation. Having her own car (a 2007 Chevrolet Malibu) will provide her with additional job opportunities and a greater chance for future success.

Employees of White Auto Body performed all vehicle repairs free of charge. They, along with several vendors, filled both cars with Christmas presents for each family. White Auto Body paid for the inspections, six months of liability insurance, and all taxes and titling fees. The recipients had no initial out-of-pocket expenses. White Auto Body has donated a total of 27 vehicles since it began the program.

March 31 Deadline For GAAS Scholarships

March 31 is the deadline for students to apply for a 2012 Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (GAAS) scholarship.

The application process is now entirely electronic, through the GAAS scholarship website, www.AutomotiveScholarships.com.

Scholarships are available to students in two-year technical college programs and vocational schools, and four-year college programs.

In its 16-year history, GAAS has presented more than $1.5 million in awards to more than 1,500 students. If you know of eligible students, please encourage them to apply.

WIN Accepting Board Applications

The Women’s Industry Network nominating committee is now accepting applications for seats on the WIN board. The board consists of various industry segments including shop owners, jobbers, suppliers, consultants, paint companies and insurance companies.

“Volunteering for the WIN board is an outstanding opportunity to have a present and future influence on our industry,” said Denise Caspersen, manager of ASA’s Collision Division.

The deadline for applications is Feb. 24. For more information, go to www.womensindustrynetwork.com.

IBIS to Meet in May

This year’s International Bodyshop Industry Symposium (IBIS) will be held May 21-23 at The Hotel Arts, Barcelona, Spain.

3M, AkzoNobel, Audatex, BASF, Enterprise Rent-a-Car and Innovation Goup have been confirmed as official partners for IBIS 2012.

IBIS is a leading global event for collision industry leaders and influencers. Now in its 11th year, it has built a reputation as a source of high-level debate, a melting pot of innovative approaches to industry problems and great networking opportunities. IBIS 2012 will focus on insurers and their partners.

Ron Nagy, AAM, chairman of ASA and owner of Nagy’s Collision Center in Wooster, Ohio, will represent ASA at IBIS 2012 in Barcelona.

NRC Releases Automotive Electronics Safety Report

New Technologies Require More NHTSA Oversight

The National Research Council’s (NRC) Transportation Research Board has released a study that included a review of automotive electronics safety. The Research Council’s study was requested in the aftermath of the 2009-2010 reports of sudden acceleration problems in Toyota vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requested the NRC study of how the agency’s regulatory, research and defect investigation programs can be strengthened to meet the safety assurance and oversight challenges arising from the expanding functionality and use of automotive electronics. To conduct the study, the NRC appointed a 16-member committee of experts tasked with considering NHTSA’s recent experience in responding to concerns over the potential for faulty electronics.

“This report likely assures that NHTSA will proceed with policy changes relative to automotive electronics review and safety. The recent security breaches or hacking activities in some vehicles increases the need for automotive repairs to be done by professionals,” said Bob Redding, ASA’s Washington, D.C., representative. “The automotive industry’s effort with the National Automotive Service Task Force’s (NASTF) Secure Data Release Model (SDRM) is an example of independent repairers working with automobile manufacturers to ensure vehicle security.
We are hopeful that NHTSA will include independent repairers in the strategic planning process for automotive electronics safety.” There were a number of key findings from the study:

• Electronic systems have become critical to the functioning of the modern automobile.

• Electronic systems are being interconnected with one another and with devices and networks external to the vehicle to provide their desired functions.

• Proliferating and increasingly interconnected electronics systems are creating opportunities to improve vehicle safety and reliability as well as demands for addressing new system safety and cybersecurity risks.

• By enabling the introduction of many new vehicle capabilities and changes to familiar driver interfaces, electronics systems are presenting new human factors challenges for system design and vehicle-level integration.

• Automotive manufacturers visited during this study – and probably all others – implement many processes during product design, engineering, and manufacturing intended to ensure that electronics systems perform as expected up to defined failure probabilities and to detect failures when they occur and respond to them with appropriate containment actions.

The committee of experts made several recommendations to NHTSA:

• NHTSA should become more familiar with – and engaged in – standard-setting and other efforts involving industry that are aimed at strengthening the means by which manufacturers ensure the safe performance of their automotive electronic systems.

• NHTSA should convene a standing technical advisory panel comprised of individuals with backgrounds in the disciplines central to the design, development, and safety assurance of automotive electronic systems, including software and systems engineering, human factors and electronics hardware. The panel should be consulted on relevant technical matters that arise with respect to all of the agency’s vehicle safety programs, including regulatory reviews, defect investigation processes and research needs assessments.

• NHTSA should undertake a comprehensive review of the capabilities that the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) will need in monitoring for and investigating safety deficiencies in electronics-intensive vehicles. A regular channel of communication should be established between NHTSA’s research program and ODI to ensure that recurrent vehicle- and driver-related safety problems observed in the field are the subjects of research capabilities, particularly the detail, timelines and analyzability of the consumer complaint and early warning data central to these capabilities.

• The committee concurs with NHTSA’s intent to ensure that event data recorders (EDRs) be commonplace in new vehicles and recommends that the agency pursue this outcome, recognizing that the utility of more extensive and capable EDRs will depend in large part on the extent to which the stored data are available for safety investigation.

• The committee endorses NHTSA’s stated plan to conduct research on both pedal design and placement and keyless ignition design requirements but recommends that this research be a precursor to a broader human factors research initiative in collaboration with industry and that the research be aimed at informing manufacturers’ system design decisions.

To see the full press release on this topic please go to www.ASAshop.org

U.S. Senators Urge EPA to Halt Fuel and Vehicle Emission Rules

Environmental Activists Push for Rule’s Release

Six U.S. senators are urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop its pending proposal to create stricter pollution standards for gasoline and vehicles. There is an underlying concern that enforcing stricter standards will escalate the price of gasoline.

In a letter to Lisa Jackson, U.S. EPA administrator, the group of senators asked the agency to “reconsider the timing” of the pending proposal, titled the “Tier III” fuel and vehicle rules. The senators mirror increasing criticisms from the oil industry and others that the rule, expected to tighten the existing cap on sulphur in gasoline of 30 parts per million (ppm) down to 10 ppm, will increase gas prices. The proposed regulations have yet to be made formal, even though sources say that the agency’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality has completed its work on the rulemaking.

“With gas prices already high, and with so many Americans already struggling to make ends meet, we urge you to recognize that now is not the time for new regulations that will raise the price of fuel even further,” the senators wrote to Jackson.

In their letter, the senators cited an oil-industry-backed study, which predicts that fuel costs would increase 12 to 25 cents if the Tier III rule was released as proposed. The senators also argue that the proposal could cause some refineries to shut down due to the costs to implement the rule, leading to job losses.

In another letter to the EPA administrator, seven public health groups, including the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association, are urging Jackson to move forward with the Tier III rules as quickly as possible.

Links to the two letters sent to the EPA administrator are available on ASA’s legislative website, www.TakingTheHill.com.

 

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