ALEXANDRIA, Va., July 27 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Representative Rodney Alexander (R-Monroe, Quitman, Alexandria), a previous cosponsor of The Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act, HR 2048, has dropped his cosponsorship of this pro-motoring consumer, pro-small business legislation. "It's disappointing that Rep. Alexander has dropped his cosponsorship. The Right to Repair Act, as it's often known, allows motorists to choose where, how and by whom to have their vehicles repaired, whose parts they wish to purchase, even work on their vehicles themselves," stated Sandy Bass-Cors, Executive Director for the Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE). The bill was introduced to combat a growing auto repair problem for motorists and the independent repair industry that began when vehicles were equipped with computers. The computers control repair information on vital systems such as: air bags, brakes, steering mechanisms, oil changes, tire pressure, batteries, transmissions, fuel injection, ignition systems/keys, and much more. The only way for motorists to have these systems and their entire vehicle repaired and parts replaced is to return to the car dealerships. "Forcing consumers to return to car dealerships has become a hardship for low and fixed income motorists, creates a potential for safety hazards for those who need immediate repairs but may not live near a car dealership, may be traveling or just not have the personal finances. This is definitely a safety issue," continued Bass-Cors. "Following the devastation by the recent Hurricanes in Louisiana, motorists who have lost everything, have been trying to rebuild their lives through jobs and communities. These Hurricane victims need affordable transportation to travel to work and school, not more road blocks. They can't afford expensive car dealership repair prices and repairs, so they depend on their neighborhood garages and parts stores. But, if those businesses have difficulty rebuilding because they can't repair the entire vehicle, then everyone will lose." Car companies have aggressively been attempting to kill this bipartisan bill. The car companies claim that all of the necessary repair information is available, and that all this bill is about is their proprietary information. "The legislation protects the car companies' proprietary information and protects consumers. To the contrary, the independents don't need or want blue prints or schematics in order to complete repairs. Motorists who have broken down in desolate areas or late at night need help, not to be told that their vehicles have to go to a car dealership only. "Ignition keys are another safety problem. Keys with computer chips must be duplicated at car dealerships for very high prices. Although some keys can be duplicated, they are able to only open the door -- not start the engine. So, motorists can come in out of the rain, they just can't go anywhere," stated Bass-Cors. The Right to Repair Act has had several congressional hearings with the latest on May 25, 2006, where the bill passed out of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection by a vote of 14 to 13. The next step is a vote in the full Energy and Commerce Committee. Although Rep. Alexander doesn't serve on the Energy and Commerce Committee, his cosponsorship showed strength and support for consumers. "It's our fervent hope that Rep. Alexander will re-cosponsor this important legislation so that all Louisiana consumers, indeed, all of America's motoring consumers, will have a choice in their car repairs," concluded Bass-Cors. The Right to Repair Act has broad support among many diverse groups, among them: RetireSafe (which represents 400,000 seniors); National Grange, Service Station Dealers of America, Tire Industry Association, AAA and others. Louisiana's aftermarket locations number: 3,238. The aftermarket nationwide employs five million people in over 495,000 locations, including "mom and pop" shops.
SOURCE Coalition for Auto Repair Equality