Utah Introduces a Pro-Hobby Raised Vehicle Bill
At the behest of Utah off-highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts, especially the Utah 4- Wheel Drive Association, a bill (H.B. 49) has been introduced in the Utah legislature that would allow fair and reasonable modifications of 4-wheel drive vehicles. H.B. 49 seeks to amend the current Utah law, which is extremely difficult to understand, hard to enforce properly and provides little guidance to Utah's OHV community.
H.B. 49 provides for useful 4x4 performance enhancing modifications for on- and off-highway applications such as suspension and body lifts and wheel and tire alterations based on gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR). As the OHV community is well aware, these modifications are often necessary for trail-riding activities where increased clearance, larger tires and improved suspension are necessary. The bill also helps address some of the practical needs of a unique state such as Utah where weather conditions and rugged terrain often call for the necessary vehicle modifications to ensure reliable and useful everyday transportation.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, H.B. 49 has widespread support from the industry and regulators nationwide. The bill is based on the current model standard of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) and does not allow modifications that would cause unusual or dangerous incidences of bumper mismatch, or that would seriously affect handling and braking capacity.
Asked about the chances of this bill passing, Brett Davis, president of the Utah 4-Wheel Drive Association, commented, "We have worked hard to come up with legislation that is safe, well thought-out, useful and supported by the Utah OHV community. We are hopeful that Utah Highway Patrol and the Utah legislature will agree and allow our hopes and efforts to become law."
To read the SEMA Legislative Alert on this matter, go here. For more information on how to turn this alert into a letter you can send to a Utah legislator, read SEMA's information on How to Lobby Your Elected Officials available here.
Maine Scrappage: The Saga Continues
They don't want the vehicles. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection cannot seem to get its misguided scrappage program (they call it a "junk-car buyback program") rolling because auto recyclers can't afford to participate in the program.
Under a law passed last year, the state of Maine is seeking to clean its air by enticing folks to scrap their old cars. To be eligible, these cars must have been registered for 2 years and be capable of being driven to a disposal site. In exchange for ridding themselves of these older cars, Maine motorists will be issued vouchers of up to $2,000 toward the purchase of a 1996 model year or newer car with low emissions.
Maine's scrappage program, scheduled to go into effect Nov. 1, 2000, has been saddled with problems from the beginning. First, the program stalled because Maine1s legislature inadequately funded the program, earmarking only $10,000 for program administration and education costs. Published estimates indicate that it would cost $116,000 to pay for the replacement of 50-100 vehicles and to date about 1,000 cars have signed up for scrappage. Not only is funding a problem, but auto recycling yards claim that the pre-1988 vehicles targeted for scrappage are too old to have value and would result in losses of $300-$500 per vehicle based on the cost of labor and handling to dismantle the cars and dispose of the fluids and other materials.
The needs of Maine's parts recyclers notwithstanding, SEMA has consistently argued that pre-1988 cars and parts are of tremendous value to automotive hobbyists, collectors and low-income drivers, who need them for restoration projects and daily transportation.
To read the SEMA Legislative Alert on this matter, go here. For more information on how to turn this alert into a letter you can send to a Maine legislator, read SEMA's information on How to Lobby Your Elected Officials available here.
Maine Legislator Leads the Way Against Scrappage
State Rep. Terry McKenney (R-District 42) from Maine may be the savior that the state's automotive hobbyists have been looking for. He is leading an effort to deny funding to the state1s ill-conceived motor vehicle scrappage effort. As many of you know, Maine plans to offer vouchers of $1,000-2,000 to folks who scrap their 1987 or older vehicles. They must in turn use the money to purchase a 1996 or newer vehicle. Rep. McKenney, a man with almost 30 years of experience in the automotive repair industry, saw the inherent flaws in Maine1s program and has been working with SEMA's Steve McDonald to kill any funding for the program.
Rep. McKenney agrees that there are several problems with the scrappage plan. One is that $1,000-2,000 isn't enough money to enable many people to buy a 1996 or newer car. The average price of a 1996 vehicle is approximately $13,000. The program clearly discriminates against those in lower income brackets. Also, Maine has not made any specific provisions to make parts available to collectors before the vehicles are scrapped, such as posting notices in newspapers or on a web site. Additionally, Maine didn't address the fact that studies show that most cars scrapped are often second or third vehicles which are infrequently used. Finally, Maine's scrappage program cannot even verify that the newer car purchased is cleaner than the car that was scrapped.
Rep. McKenney bought his first service station in 1972 and since 1979 he has owned and operated "McKenney Service Center" (509 Westbrook Street, South Portland, Maine 04106). Rep. McKenney urges anyone in Maine who feels strongly about the scrappage program to ... "know who his or her legislator is and call him or her about the issue immediately! As few as five to eight phone calls can make the difference as to how a representative votes."
Rep. McKenney is the kind of state lawmaker that SEMA Action Network members need to support. His no-nonsense approach and understanding and respect for the automotive hobby make him an invaluable ally in Maine as the rights of automotive enthusiasts continue to be attacked. In fact, Rep. McKenney only decided to enter politics after he served on the Governor's Council on Air Quality and recognized that his experience in the automotive industry and sense of fairness could be beneficial to the residents of Maine.
SEMA would like to thank Rep. McKenney for his efforts to support the hobby and find a sensible solution to the scrappage program. We look forward to a continued partnership with him. To help us fight the scrappage program in Maine, Driving Force urges everyone to contact Rep. McKenney at: 14 Crystal Lane, Cumberland Center, Maine 04021. He can also be reached by phone at 207/773-8560, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
North to Alaska: A Journey to Fight Multiple Sclerosis
Many of you probably remember hearing last year about a guy who drove across the country in an old pickup to raise money for cancer. His name is Scott Sensing, the truck is a 1952 Chevy, and he's planning to do it again!
The last time around, Scott traveled from his hometown of Murfreesboro, Tenn., to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Despite a few mechanical difficulties and an encounter with some grizzly bears, he made it there and back in 8 weeks, traveling approximately 11,802 miles. Most people would probably not have chosen a 1952 pickup for this kind of trek, but Scott had his reasons.
In 1982, he and his father, Wylie, rescued the abandoned truck and began rebuilding it. As anyone who has rebuilt a vehicle knows, you1ve got plenty of time to talk while turning all those wrenches and it's a great way to get to know the people who are helping you. During the many hours spent together, Scott came to find out that he and his dad shared a common dream of heading to Alaska. Unfortunately, Wylie died of lung cancer in 1998 and never got a chance to venture north. Scott decided it was time to make the journey and began looking for sponsors.
The folks at Hemmings Motor News, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and countless others were happy to help make Scott' dream a reality. He raised more than $30,000 for the American Cancer Society. Scott is now in the process of writing a book about his trip to Alaska, "Travels With Shelly: An Old Truck Journey to Arctic Alaska."
This summer, Scott Sensing, along with his publicist Terry Kohl, is going to travel the original Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles to raise money for multiple sclerosis.
Kohl and Scott became acquainted through their connection at "My Classic Car." The Route 66 trip came about when Kohl strongly backed up the idea that Ralph White, of Ralph White Apparel and Merchandising, had. "Ralph has a brother with multiple sclerosis and my mother and two friends also have the disease," says Kohl. There is no rhyme or reason as to who it affects or how it affects them."
To make a contribution to help fight multiple sclerosis, contact Terry Kohl at 920/398-3154, or e-mail her at email@example.com.
The Driving Force staff wishes Scott and Terry the best of luck in their voyage.
WE GET LETTERS
California Comments #1
The message of anti-old car legislation in California is expressed in the recommendations of the California Inspection & Maintenance Review Committee (www.imreview.ca.gov). It is one of Smog Check [California's emissions testing program] and scrappage horror stories.
These recommendations will be translated into legislation (www.assembly.ca.gov - select "legislation") during 2001. The legislative database is searchable by keyword and is indexed.
I urge [California SEMA Action Network members] to read these recommendations, then contact their Assembly Member (www.assembly.ca.gov), Senator (www.sen.ca.gov) and Governor Gray Davis (www.governor.ca.gov>) by fax, phone, e-mail and letters to express their opinion.
I applaud your publication for putting this issue in the forefront. I hope that you will continue to do so until we succeed in defeating scrappage. If California implements these recommendations, there will be no muscle cars for you to market parts to. We must work together.
-- Len Trimlett
California Comments #2
Time and again, I have found the SEMA Driving Force newsletter to be both informative and useful in my work as a journalist.
Clearly the credibility of this source must be beyond question, so let me point out a generalization in the latest edition that is a bit too sweeping: "This is even more of a head-scratcher when we consider that pre-1974 vehicles were not originally equipped with pollution control equipment."
I believe you meant to insert "most" or "many" before your year notation. My own 1967 Camaro SS350, an original California car, was factory-equipped with A.I.R. plumbing (pump and air injection manifolds) that I fortunately still have, as it is pretty hard to come by. By the early '70s things were already pretty grim, performance-wise, as a result of pollution control measures (even though it came more in the form of lowered compression and unleaded gas, rather than specific "smog" hardware).
Let's not allow those who would restrict our hobby to have the pleasure of pointing out errors and omissions (or the opportunity to discredit the fine work SEMA does on behalf of enthusiasts).
Thanks for listening and keep up the good work.
-- Norman Mayersohn
[Editors Note: The e-mail edition of the January Driving Force went out with the unfortunate mistake Mr. Mayersohn mentions. SEMA is certainly aware that many late '60s and early '70s era vehicles did come equipped with first generation pollution control related equipment, such as PCV valves, EGR valves and ignition retard devices. We regret the confusion the original wording may have caused.]
Nebraska Checks In
I've been receiving Driving Force for several months now, and it has proven to be a very useful and informative bit of information. I reside in Lexington, Nebr., and I was completely unaware of the pending bill banning the highway use of nitrous oxide systems. I am very thankful to be made aware of such legislation in my area. I1m also very happy that the bill did not pass. We may have been left to discover this new law "post citation," needless to say, would not have been a good thing.
Emissions regulations around here are practically non-existent as far as the muscle car/hobbyist is concerned, and it is apparent that we have been taking this for granted. From now on we will all be keeping a closer eye on the legislative activities of our state. Thank you for helping us to better understand these bills and how they may affect us in our constant quest for better performance, speed, beauty, and, of course, more fun.
-- Daniel Screws
Screws Motorsports/Parkway Automotive Lexington, NE
Department of Corrections:
In the December Driving Force, "California House Bill (H.B.) 2832" should have read Pennsylvania House Bill (H.B.) 2832. We regret any confusion the typo may have created.
Newly Introduced Legislation
Note: The following state bills are not laws. They have been recently introduced and are currently being considered for adoption by the respective state legislatures.
Arizona: S.B. 1005 would prohibit drivers from using a wireless phone, computer or any other electronic device that needs to be held with one or both hands.
Connecticut: H.B. 5067 would fine a driver who causes an accident while using a wireless telephone.
Illinois: H.B. 4733 would allow drivers to use wireless phones that have a single-sided earpiece.
Kentucky: H.B. 44 would, except in emergencies, prohibit using wireless telephones while driving unless the phone is a hands-free model.
Nebraska: L.B. 42 would prohibit drivers from using cell phones.
New Jersey: A.B. 2487 & S.B. 1867 would require police to note in accident reports if anyone involved was using a wireless phone.
New York: S.B. 113 would prohibit using a wireless phone on the highway unless it is hands-free.
North Dakota: H.B. 1174 would prohibit the DMV from disclosing personal information without written consent.
Texas: H.B. 307 would prohibit the DMV from disclosing personal information without written consent.
Arizona: H.B. 2008G seeks to amend the current law which provides a tax credit for installing an extra fuel tank that burns cleaner fuel. The amendment mandates that the vehicle owner must provide proof that a certain portion of the total fuel burned was of the cleaner type.
Kentucky: H.B. 27 would exempt vehicles 4 years old or newer from emissions inspections.
Kentucky: S.B. 48 would prohibit local and county governments from implementing vehicle emissions inspection programs; an exception is made for those programs already operating.
Virginia: S.B. 792 would provide a 50 percent refund of the vehicle sales and use tax for vehicles converted to burn cleaner fuels.
Alabama: H.B. 53 would allow certain municipalities to declare vehicles that have been inoperable for 30 days, are in plain view and not associated with an automotive repair business as nuisances and can remove them at the owner's expense.
Mississippi: H.B. 224 would require headlamps to be burnt when conditions require the use of windshield wipers. Also prohibits burning only parking lamps.
Mississippi: H.B. 331 would require operation of front and rear lamps from sunrise to sunset and when weather conditions dictate. Prohibits only using auxiliary lighting under these conditions.
Montana: S.B. 125 would require drivers to use headlamps when traveling on a highway. Prohibits operating a vehicle on a highway with tinted or covered headlamps that were not standard or optional equipment from the factory.
Vermont: H.B. 16 would require drivers to burn headlamps at all times on the highway.
New York: A.B. 95 would require all vehicles manufactured after Jan. 1, 2001, and offered for sale, lease or rental to have a device that illuminates front and rear lamps when the windshield wipers are used.
New York: S.B. 508 & A.B. 320 seek to authorize insurance premium reductions for non-commercial private passenger vehicles retrofitted with daytime running lights.
Montana: S.B. 84 seeks to increase the maximum fine charged to junkyard operators for violating environmental laws from $50 to $5,000 per day.
Pennsylvania: H.B. 2722 would set standards and procedures to be followed for racetracks to attain a permit to sell alcoholic beverages.
Pennsylvania: S.B. 390 would prohibit local governments from levying additional taxes on automobile racing facilities1 admissions profits.
Vermont: H.B. 15 provides for a junk vehicle crushing program. It also appropriates $100,000 to initiate it, with the private sector funding the rest.
TAGS, TITLES, REGISTRATION
Utah: H.B. 190 would allow vehicles model year 1972 or older to use a year of manufacture license plate.
Mississippi: H.B. 215 would eliminate some vehicle safety inspections.
New Jersey: S.B. 1901 seeks to expand enforcement of motor vehicle tire safety standards to include roadside inspection by police officers.
Utah: H.B. 49 would amend vehicle lift laws to provide a more user-friendly set of guidelines.
Utah: H.B. 39 seeks to lessen certain motor vehicle violations, such as loud muffler and excessive tint, from a class 3 misdemeanor to a mere infraction.
Missouri: S.B. 181 & H.B. 120 would allow front side-wing windows to be tinted, provided there is a light transmittance of 35 percent or more and a luminous reflectance of 35 percent or less.