Maryland’s House Environment and Transportation Committee meeting had an in-depth auto glass discussion as several industry members weighed in on HB 519, which would require those installing auto glass in the state to follow the AGRSS Standard.
“House Bill 519 is a request by the Auto Glass Safety Council (AGSC) desiring to pass legislation to begin the process of model legislation in the United States at the state level. Basically the bill does requires the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) to adopt regulations establishing standards and requirements for the aftermarket safety glass replacement in the state of Maryland” said committee chairperson Kumar Barve.
A number of industry members testified during the hearing. AGSC board member Ted Andersen, vice president of Novus franchising said safety reasons led him to participate in the committee meeting.
“Auto glass and the windshield in particular are integral parts of the safety system for vehicles. We call it kind of a safety cocoon almost,” said Andersen. “Things like airbags; if the installation is not done properly airbags will deploy off of your windshield, and if that windshield is not installed properly it could be removed.” He stressed that in every vehicle glass replacement the materials need to be installed properly and must be correct. He then highlighted an issue with current regulations.
“It’s important for the safety of Marylanders that glass installation be done in accordance with the safety standards developed for aftermarket installation. In this case AGRSS is the standard that was developed and approved by ANSI, said Anderson. “All of our franchisees follow the AGRSS standard and make sure that installation is done properly. We do support this and we feel that it should be put into law.”
Patrick Heflin, regional manager for Glass America, also spoke in support of the bill. He informed committee members about the very small camera, usually mounted in the center of the windshield, which works in tandem with the car’s computer to keep the ADAS working properly and how sudden changes, like cleaning the camera’s lens can impact a vehicle’s safety.
“This is an important safety issue, as having the camera position off even a minuscule amount can impact its operation.”
According to Heflin, it becomes difficult for the industry when certain companies and technicians choose not to follow the standard because it is not an official law. “When some technicians say, ‘We don’t touch the camera, so it doesn’t need to be recalibrated’, they are jeopardizing their customer’s safety,” added Heflin. “By making this bill into law you further protect the driving public and show all installers that by law they must do right.”
AGSC president Debra Levy also testified saying that the AGRSS is updated and evaluated as new technology, such as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), are developed. “In my role as a safety glass advocate, I sometimes talk to technicians who express ignorance of the standard or worse, those who know about it and say they don’t need to follow it because it’s voluntary and it’s not the law,” said Levy. “You can change that today for the safety of everyone in Maryland with the passage of HB 519.”
Bryson Popham, a lobbyist for Safelite, also spoke and recommended legislators consider an amendment to the bill that would require a study be considered.
One delegate also posed a question for Popham, related to his amendment. “You’re asking for a study and I’m not necessarily sure that a study done by this committee is necessarily the best way to handle this. Maybe we should ask the department for recommendations,” she said. “They make regulations all of the time, if they need some sort of direction for further observation they should be able to know what that is.”
Look to a future edition of glassBYTEs for continuing coverage of this legislation.