The automotive glass industry reaction to an effort by the Michigan legislature to regulate the industry in the state has been one of skepticism.
The Michigan House of Representatives on September 8 introduced House Bill No. 5848, which would require automotive glass companies in Michigan to be registered and regulated by the secretary of state’s office. Failure to comply would result in fines and/or jail time for owners.
Rep. Aaron Miller, the bill’s author, cited a need for more emphasis on safety as a reason for the bill.
“Given the changes in the industry and changes in the importance of the safety qualities of auto glass installation over the years, a case can definitely be made for higher standards in the market in the interest of public safety,” Miller said Monday. “This bill takes a step in that direction.”
Safelite AutoGlass echoed Miller’s concerns for consumer safety.
“Safelite is committed to working with Representative Miller and the industry on vehicle glass legislation to assure the highest level of quality and safety for all Michigan consumers …,” says Melina Metzger, Safelite’s public relations manager.
The bill, however, does not specify any provisions relating to safety. Instead, the bill lays out procedures by which automotive glass company owners must obtain registrations, conduct business and maintain accurate records – to include not making “ … an untrue statement of a material fact” – or face fines of up to $5,000 and up to a year in jail.
“The Auto Glass Safety Council (AGSC) is disappointed that a bill that has the admirable stated purpose of being about safety has no mention of the country’s only replacement standard, ANSI/AGSC/AGRSS™ Standard 003-2015, for safe auto glass installations,” said David Rohlfing, AGSC™ vice president, “nor does it highlight certified technicians.”
Jeff Reddell, president of the National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA), also emphasized safety standards.
“Since the legislation concerns our industry and consumer safety, I would strongly urge Michigan legislators to take a look at industry experts nationwide and the ANSI safety standards that they have developed over the past few years–there are only two standards; ROLAGS for repair and AGRSS for replacement,” Reddell says. “Everyone should be following them.”
Owners in the Michigan automotive glass industry responded this week with wariness, given their unfamiliarity with the bill.
“Off the top, it sounds like the right thing to do, but I can’t support the terminology of the bill,” says Dave Zoldowski, owner of Auto One Glass & Accessories in the greater Detroit area.
Beth Eden, manager of A2 Auto Glass in Ann Arbor, Mich., says she has seen headlines about the bill, but “I don’t have enough information.”
Similarly, Wesley Strickland, president of Preferred Auto Glass & Trim in Ypsilanti, Mich., says he’s heard rumors about regulations, but isn’t himself concerned.
“I’ve heard they were going to require installers to be licensed, like mechanics,” he says, “but I haven’t read the bill. I’d like to, though.”
Regarding records maintenance required by the bill, he says, “I already do that, and I have since the ‘80s. I have that going back to ’82.”
His only concern, he says, is the possibility of fees being imposed for registration.
“As long as they’re not going to assess any fees,” he says, “I don’t see a problem.”
The bill was referred to the Committee on Regulatory Reform September 8.