Tuning Up the SAN
State capitols across the country are again open for business and are considering countless pieces of legislation, many of which affect the auto hobby. Here at the SEMA Action Network (SAN), we are working on new and exciting ways to inform auto enthusiasts of these legislative and regulatory initiatives. A focus of attention has been an improved SAN website that is user-friendly and puts lots of valuable information at your fingertips. In this electronic age, the website has become a great tool for linking the hobbyist community. We encourage our readers to take advantage of these new features:
• New Logo/Link: We have developed a new SAN logo, which car clubs, SEMA member companies and media outlets may download and place on their websites. The logo can serve as a link to the SAN website and all of the legislative/regulatory issues the SAN is on working on to benefit the auto hobby. We also encourage those who download the logo to feature it in their newsletters or other print publications. To download the logo, please visit the SAN website at www.semasan.com. Webmasters can contact the SAN at (202) 783-6007, ext. 39 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for technical assistance.
• New Website Layout: Visitors to the SAN website will also notice a new layout and a more user-friendly way to access information about issues that effect the auto hobby. Among the new features are hobby-specific issue pages, where you can choose a particular hobby and view pending legislation, action alerts and ongoing issues surrounding that hobby. For example, classic-car enthusiasts can access information about scrappage issues or changes to titling and registration for antique cars. Off-road enthusiasts can view alerts about vehicle height restrictions, off-road access and other relevant issues. Those who choose to put the SAN logo on their websites have the option of linking directly to the SAN home page or to one of the hobby-specific issue pages.
• State Listings: Other features include the ability to view pending legislation and action alerts on a state-by-state basis. Individual state issue pages will also highlight past legislative activity of interest to auto enthusiasts in each state.
• Federal Listings: Visitors to the website can also access information on pending legislation before the U.S. Congress or regulatory initiatives by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies.
• One-Stop Shop For Updating Address Changes: SAN members who have moved or have changed e-mail addresses can submit the information on our new member update page.
These improvements will help in spreading the word about pending legislative and regulatory initiatives. The more hands that touch this information, the more eyes that read this information and the more people who stand up and do something with this information, the more effectively we protect our hobby.
As always, we’re extremely grateful to SAN members whose tireless efforts have produced a record of successes that is second to none. We hope that through this SAN tune up we are able to reach out to enthusiasts across the country and increase the ranks of those willing to stand up for our hobby.
Massachusetts Bill to Ban the Sale/Installation of Aftermarket Exhaust Systems ResurfacesAgain
After successful efforts to stall similar legislation in 2003 and 2004, a bill to ban the sale or installation of “an exhaust system which has been modified in a manner which will amplify or increase the noise emitted by the exhaust” will be reintroduced in the Massachusetts State Legislature—this time with a twist. In what is seen as a clear attempt to divide the auto hobby, the bill’s sponsor included a provision that would exclude limited-use “antique motor cars.”
House Draft 672, which will be assigned another number once officially introduced, effectively discriminates against automotive enthusiasts by restricting exhaust systems to those installed by the motor-vehicle manufacturers. The bill ignores the fact that aftermarket exhaust systems are designed to increase performance, improve vehicle efficiently without increasing emissions and are constructed with materials that improve the durability of these exhaust systems.
“SAN members agree that aftermarket exhaust systems should not be used in a way that causes overly loud or objectionable noise,” said SEMA vice president of government affairs Steve McDonald. “However, we believe that this bill would ban the sale and installation of exhaust systems that result in modest and inoffensive noise increases.”
In some states, noise limits for modified exhaust systems are established with an easily administered test standard. These limits are usually indicated in decibels and allow vehicle owners to prove compliance by an objectively measured, fair and predictable procedure. In California, for example, a provision is made for the testing of vehicle-exhaust noise to an established noise limit of 95 decibels. A 95-decibel limit has also been enacted in Washington and Maine. “The alternative, currently in effect in Massachusetts, is to have law-enforcement authorities make a subjective interpretation of a modified vehicle’s exhaust-noise level as compared to the noise emitted by the vehicle’s original muffler,” McDonald added. “We find this subjective standard unacceptable as a method for determining a violation of the vehicle code and certainly unfair to the many law-abiding and responsible Massachusetts motorists who choose to customize their vehicles and have no connection whatsoever to street racing or gang-related activity.”
SAN Massachusetts contacts should contact your state legislators in Boston immediately by phone, fax or e-mail in opposition to H.D. 672. If you need assistance in determining who your state legislators are and their contact information, please contact the Massachusetts state legislature’s general information line at 617/722-2000. This information also can be obtained by calling SEMA’s Washington, D.C. office at (202) 783-6007 ext. 38, or accessed via the Internet at www.semasan.com.
The SAN is particularly indebted to the Bearing Burners Car Club, the Mass Cruisers Auto Club, the Night CruZers of Berkshire County, the Dominators Hot Rod Club, AAA’s Car Doctor and Sweet Chariots Radio for their help in spreading the word on this legislation.
Alls Not Quiet on the Western Front
Actions Against the Hobby Increase in California
By Frank Bohanan
When I have the occasion to talk to people about the state of the automotive hobby, one of the points that I consistently try to make is that the days of rabid or isolated brand loyalty are over. With ongoing threats to the auto hobby from multiple fronts, we no longer have the luxury of being just a Chevy person or just a Ford person or a street rod person or whatever. Government agencies and environmental or consumer advocacy groups are increasingly relying upon such fragmentation within the auto hobby to get their initiatives enacted.
Currently, there are a number of measures in various stages that, if enacted, would be harmful to all automotive hobbyists. Of particular interest are actions by the California Inspection and Maintenance Review Committee (IMRC), an advisory board created by the California legislature and governor to evaluate the effectiveness of California’s Smog Check program and recommend program improvements. The IMRC consists primarily of representatives from environmental groups, groups representing stationary source polluters and staff from public agencies associated with the state’s Smog Check vehicle inspection and maintenance program.
While the SAN has always agreed with the goal of reducing excessive emissions in order to improve air quality, we disagree with the attempts made by IMRC to achieve this. As many of you read about last year in Driving Force, the IMRC was a proponent of AB 2683, which requires 1976 and later model-year vehicles to be emissions tested for the rest of their driving lives instead of becoming exempt when they reach 30 years of age. In spite of being presented with an overwhelming amount of data to dispute the arguments made by supporters of AB 2683 as well as receiving literally thousands of messages opposing it, the legislature passed the bill and it was signed by the governor last fall. Unfortunately, this costly and counterproductive measure will yield no measurable change in air quality and is just the tip of the iceberg.
IMRC is currently drafting recommendations to the California legislature that will go even further. The following are some of the proposals being considered by the IMRC:
1. Annual versus biennial inspections of vehicles more than 15 years old: The SAN feels that the targeting of older vehicles is unfair and discriminatory, especially when they are generally driven less and there are fewer of them than newer vehicles. Gross emitters can be of any age and, while the SAN supports the repair of these emitters, this approach unjustly targets older vehicles. This proposal also opens the door for the testing of pre-1976 vehicles, which has been openly discussed by IMRC.
2. Smoke inspections: This is a step in the right direction. In fact, SEMA supported legislation in 2003 that promoted greater enforcement of smoking-vehicle laws. However, the proposed action would add a fairly subjective evaluation of a smoking vehicle made by law enforcement officials and would further discriminate against older cars.
3. Stricter re-test standards for vehicles that fail emissions tests: By establishing stricter emissions standards or “cut points,” the regulators hope to achieve their goal of eliminating older vehicles by making it more expensive to keep them running. If more vehicles fail their emissions tests and it costs more to repair them to achieve lower test results, many people will be unable to pay for the repairs and will choose to scrap their older vehicles. While the SAN supports repairing older vehicles, we do not support lowering cut points to an unreasonable level. The SAN believes—and current law requires—that cut points must be reasonable and allow for cost-effective repairs for the majority of vehicles, including those that are older.
If measures such as these were applied objectively to only verified gross polluters, they would not be of great concern. Unfortunately, any vehicle over 15 years old is regarded as being a gross polluter by the IMRC. It fails to account for how little these vehicles are actually driven, how few are left and, to a large extent, what their actual condition may be. The IMRC’s view, simply put, is that if it’s older and has an internal combustion engine, then it’s bad. Ultimately, its goal is to get these vehicles off the road through what it refers to as “fleet turnover.”
Proof of this “fleet turnover” is the dramatic increase in the amount of funds made available for “vehicle retirement” or “scrappage” programs. Even though SEMA has testified on countless occasions about the flawed assumptions and overstated benefit projections of these programs, they continue to be a favorite mechanism of groups like the IMRC because they get rid of the perceived problem of older vehicles once and for all. To the IMRC, scrappage truly is a permanent solution, since it requires the destruction of older vehicles and their parts regardless of how rare or valuable they might be to enthusiasts and collectors. These regulators believe that it is cheaper to reduce emissions through scrappage programs than to require scrubbers or other emissions controls at industrial sites.
The efforts currently underway in California are vivid proof that the threat to the auto hobby is real. It cannot be dismissed or ignored if you are a vehicle enthusiast. Forget the rivalries and stand with those who may like a different vehicle than you do to help fend off these threats. The SAN exists to help you do this, and it has been remarkably successful. You can be sure that the SAN will be very busy this year, not only in California but anywhere the hobby is threatened. This is what the SAN is all about: unifying and informing enthusiasts everywhere to stand up on behalf of the auto hobby.
HEY, THAT'S MY CAR!
1940 Pontiac 26 Deluxe
Owner: Jim Collura
Monroe, North Carolina
When I brought this home, my wife looked at me and said, “I hope somebody gave you that! What are you going to do with it?” I proudly stated, “No, I gave a guy $1,500 for that, and I’m going to fix it up.” She just laughed and said, “Yeah, right.”
Specs: 350 Chevy bored .030 over; Pete Jackson Gear Drive is the only engine mod, everything else is stock; 1984 Monte Carlo front clip; 1979 Malibu rear clip;
17-inch American Racing wheels with Goodyear rubber on back and 16-inch on front; 350 Turbo automatic; tilt steering; disk brakes on front; Vintage Air; six-way electric bucket seats from 1989 Cougar; interior and glasswork by B & M Upholstery and Auto Glass in Monroe, NC; four-inch chop and body mods by Zeb Stegall Auto Repair in Monroe; paint by Jeff McNeill Designs, Monroe, NC; PPG basecoat, clearcoat, Honda green and silver; graphics and pinstriping by Jim Norris of South Carolina.
Thanks to all who have sent in or e-mailed us photos. Please continue to send us photos of your trail rides, restorations in progress, rod runs, car shows, charity events and drag races. Kindly submit pictures to: email@example.com.
Off-Road News, New Federal Rules for Managing Forests
The U.S. Forest Service issued new rules for managing the nation’s 191 million acres of national forests and grasslands. The revised management system provides regional forest managers with more discretion when deciding whether or not to approve logging, mining or other projects.
“SEMA and the SAN support the Forest Service’s streamlined management plan,” said SAN director Jason Tolleson. “Forest Service officials must update management plans every 15 years for the 155 national forests and 20 grasslands. The current process averages five to seven years for each plan. The new rule should create a two- or three-year process.”
In the future, environmental impact statements will be required only for specific projects, not for each overall forest plan. Officials will also focus on maintaining healthy ecosystems rather than managing particular plants or wildlife. Additionally, social and economic considerations will be given the same emphasis as ecological sustainability.
“The rule is consistent with the SAN’s recommendation that there be more local input in the decision-making process,” noted Tolleson. “The plan makes for more efficient and effective use of time by the local officials. For example, they will have more time to work with the local community on identifying and protecting off-highway vehicle routes.”
Attention Car Clubs, Event Organizers and Enthusiasts!
Put SAN on Your Mailing List!
We’d like to know what’s going on with SEMA Action Network clubs and enthusiasts across the country; what charity events you’re involved in; when and where the rod runs, car shows, trail rides,
rallies and tech meetings are held; and what legislative and regulatory issues concern club members and individual enthusiasts.
One of the best ways to keep us abreast of what’s going on and what’s important to the vehicle hobbies nationwide is for us to receive your club newsletters and updates. Please consider placing SEMA on your mailing list. Send correspondence to: SEMA Action Network, 1317 F Street, N.W., Suite 500, Washington, D.C.20004-1105. Or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Newly Introduced Legislation
Note: The following state bills are not laws. They were recently introduced and are currently under consideration by the respective state legislatures:
South Carolina HB 3087: Provides for the registration and licensing of all-terrain vehicles
New Hampshire HB 40: Requires all recreational vehicles to be inspected annually by July 1.
Massachusetts HD 3630: Relates to the inspection of custom vehicles.
Pennsylvania HB 2944: Provides for coordination of emissions and safety inspections. Requires a vehicle emissions inspection prior to performance of a vehicle safety inspection or executing repairs required to pass a safety inspection Equipment
New Hampshire LSR 60: Prohibits the use or installation of radar scrambler devices in motor vehicles
New Jersey SB 1924: Requires dealer to disclose missing or defective emissions control equipment in used motor vehicle under certain circumstances.
Pennsylvania SB 1256: Sets fine at $25 for vehicles exceeding 11,000 lbs that are not equipped with rear wheel shields
Texas HB 160: Relating to motor vehicle recording devices. Defines recording device, requires disclosure before sale and requires a subpoena for a law enforcement officer to retrieve recorded data.
Kentucky BR 295: Requires that headlights must be in use when atmospheric conditions require the use of windshield wipers
New Hampshire LSR 51: Requires daylight headlight use during inclement weather
Montana SB 61: Creates “Montana Recreation Responsibility Act.” Provides that a person who engages in a sport or recreation activity assumes inherent risk in that sport; limits liability of the providers of a sport or recreation activity.
New Hampshire LSR 938: Establishes a committee to study a recycling fee for automobiles
Utah HB 16: An Act to repeal the Vehicle Equipment Safety Commission.
Massachusetts HD 652: Prohibits the sale or installation of “an exhaust system which has been modified in a manner which will amplify or increase the noise emitted by the exhaust.”
New Hampshire LSR 44: Relates to noncommercial antique motor vehicle restoration activities
Montana SB 65: Removes tires from the definition of “component part” of a junk vehicle
Utah HB 24: Amends current vehicle code to apply aftermarket limitations to adjustments of frame height, wheelbase and bumper height to all vehicles, not just vehicles 15000 lbs or less.
Florida HB 71: Relating to motor vehicle speed competitions; provides that vehicles used in violation of current subsection may be seized via the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act.
Georgia HB 20: Relates to motor vehicle window tint restrictions. Regulates the application or affixing of light transmission reducing materials or glazing.
New Jersey AB 3449: Waives light transmittance standards for supplemental windshield sun screen materials to meet needs of certain persons with acute photosensitivity.
Utah HB 24: Amends current vehicle code to allow rear side windows to have nontransparent material on them
February 5, Apache Junction
5th Annual Benefit Classic Car, Truck, and Motorcycle and Bicycle Show
Sponsor: Desert Kustoms Car Club
February 6, Huntington Beach
OCTO Winter Meet 2005
Sponsor: Orange County Transporter Organization
Information: www.octo.org or 714/891-4079
February 20, Glendale
“United We Drive...” Car Show
Sponsor: Sanderson Ford
Information: www.azautohobbyist.com or 623/435-8961
February 5, San Juan Capistrano
CARE Car Show benefiting Capistrano Animal Rescue Effort
Information: email@example.com or 949/240-1735
February 25 - 27, San Diego
39th Annual BIG 3 Auto Parts Exchange and Car Corral
Information: www.big3partsexchange.com or 619/276-7135
February 4-6, Live Oak
7th Annual Blooddrag
Information: www.blooddraginc.com or 561/436-8217
February 10-13, Kissimmee
13th Annual Winter Nationals
Sponsor: Classic Chevy/Worldwide Camaro & Classic Camaro of Central FL
Information: www.classicchevy.com or 321/385-9703
February 11-13, Boca Raton
Collector Car Auction at Royal Palm Polo Grounds
February 24-27, Zephyrhills
31st Annual Winter AutoFest
Information: www.zephyrhillsfestival.com or 813/258-6726
February 27, Richmond
Vintage Wheels, Inc. 2nd Annual Late Winter Swap Meet and Car Corral
February 26-27, Monticello
36th Annual Rod & Custom Car Show
Sponsor: O’Reilly Auto Parts
Information: www.rodandcustomcarshow.com or 319/465-5119
February 25-27, Gonzales at Lamar Dixon Expo Center
1st Annual Mega Show LA Cars For Kids
Information: www.la-carsforkids.org or 225/294-3782
February 11-13, Ocean City
25th Annual Ocean City Hot Rod & Custom Car Show
Sponsor: Special Event Productions Inc.
Information: www.specialeventpro.com or 410/798-6304
February 4 -9, Novi Expo Center
Sponsor: TBJ Productions
February 5-6, Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds
Kalamazoo Antique Auto Show
Sponsor: Kalamazoo Antique Auto Restorers Club
February 27, Jackson at Washington County Fair Grounds
Annual Greater Milwaukee Area Winter Swap Meet
Sponsor: Model A Ford Club
February 12, Waveland at Henderson Ford
4th Annual Day at Charlie’s benefiting St. Jude’s
Sponsor: Mississippi Coast Mustang Club and Henderson Ford
February 24 -27, Atlantic City
Atlantic City Classic Car Show
Information: www.acclassiccars.com or 800/227-3868
February 13, Willoughby Hills
Tony La Riche Chevrolet Swap Meet
Sponsor: Northern Ohio Classic Chevy Club
February 18-20, Dayton at Hara Arena Complex
42nd Annual Autorama Car Show
February 20, Lorain
Swap Meet at Joe Firment Chevy
Sponsor: Lake Erie OH Region VCCA
February 26, Columbus at Ohio State Fair Grounds
10th Annual Winter Chrysler Classic
Sponsor: Classic Events
Information: www.classicevents.com or 614/268-1181
February 18-20, Portland
Portland Rod & Custom Show
February 19-20, Central Point
28th Annual Southern Oregon Rod & Custom Show
Sponsor: Rogue Valley Street Rods
February 19-20, Harrisburg at the Farm Show Complex
27th Annual Motorama
February 25 to 27, Pittsburgh at David Lawrence Center
44th Annual World of Wheels
Sponsor: Carquest Auto Parts
Information: www.worldofwheels.com or 412/487-8348
February 25-27, Rapid City
Counts Car Show at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center
February 19, Houston
Swap Meet at Sam Houston Race Park
February 19 - 20, Conroe at the Montgomery County Fair Grounds
10th Annual Winter Conroe Swap Meet & Car Corral
February 19-20, Puyallup
31st Annual Earlybird Swap Meet
Sponsor: Tacoma Model T Ford Club
February 27, Jackson at Washington County Fairgrounds
Greater Milwaukee All Makes Swap Meet
Sponsor: Model A Ford Club