May 14, 2018
SELF-DRIVING CARS LEGISLATION MUST PRESERVE STATE VEHICLE FRANCHISE LAWS (S. 1885/H.R. 3388)
Congress may pass legislation this year to advance self-driving vehicles. To ensure automakers are not forced to build different self-driving vehicles for different states, the legislation would preempt certain state laws which are related to the operation of a vehicle. Historically, the federal government has preempted only state laws that impact vehicle design, construction and safety. NADA agrees that state laws related to vehicle design should be regulated at the federal level to ensure uniformity, while also strongly urging Congress to preserve the States’ traditional role to provide consumer protections, and license and regulate vehicle commerce as applied to self-driving vehicles.
The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved S. 1885, the “AV START Act”, by voice vote in October 2017. While the bill clarifies that state laws regarding the sale, distribution, repair or service of AVs remain intact and are not preempted, a technical amendment is needed to fully ensure that state license and franchise laws are preserved. The bill’s sponsors have committed to correct the technical issue before full Senate consideration. In September 2017 the House passed H.R. 3388, the “SELF DRIVE Act,” with NADA-backed language clarifying that the bill does not preempt state vehicle licensing/franchise laws. Congress must ensure a State’s traditional role to regulate vehicle commerce within its borders is explicitly preserved as applied to self-driving vehicles.
OPPOSE OVERBROAD RECALL BILLS (S. 1634/H.R. 3449)
Sen. Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Schakowsky (D-Ill.) have introduced bills (S. 1634/H.R. 3449) that could cripple the used car market by halting the sale or wholesale by a dealer of any used car under open recall, even though most vehicle recalls do not require the drastic step of grounding. These bills would create a “trade-in tax” that would instantly devalue a car buyer’s trade-in by grounding recalled vehicles for minor matters such as a peeling sticker. Because of a shortage of recall parts, it often takes months to repair recalled vehicles. A 2015 study by J.D. Power found that enactment of these bills would result in an average “trade-in tax” of $1,210, and some consumers’ trade-in values would decline by $4,000 to $5,000. The Senate Commerce Committee rejected an amendment nearly identical to S. 1634 in 2015. Congress should support initiatives to increase recall completion rates and oppose S. 1634/H.R. 3449, which creates a “trade-in tax”.
SUPPORT REPEAL OF THE FEDERAL EXCISE TAX ON NEW HEAVY-DUTY TRUCKS (H.R. 2946)
During consideration of a potential infrastructure bill, Congress should revisit the 12 percent federal excise tax (FET) imposed on most new heavy-duty trucks. This tax adds between $12,000 to $22,000 to the price of a new heavy-duty truck. The FET depresses new heavy-duty truck sales and delays the deployment of cleaner, safer and more fuel-efficient trucks. This burdensome tax is in addition to the nearly $40,000 in recent federal emissions and fuel-economy mandates that make it harder for small businesses to afford a new heavy-duty truck. Rep. LaMalfa (R-Calif.) introduced H.R. 2946 to repeal this tax, which if enacted would stimulate the sale of new heavy-duty trucks. H.R. 2946 currently has 15 bipartisan cosponsors. House Members should cosponsor H.R. 2946 to spur new-truck sales and promote the entry of cleaner and safer trucks to modernize the trucking fleet.
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