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Transportation bill spares dealers from rules facing car rental firms

January 4, 2016
The five-year, $305 billion transportation bill passed by the U.S. Congress in December includes legislation to ensure that dealers are not regulated the same as large, multi-national rental car companies. The bill was nicknamed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or FAST Act.
Under the bill, only those dealers with an average of 35 or more rental vehicles in their fleets over a calendar year would be required to ground recalled rental vehicles until they are remedied.
In addition, the FAST Act contains other provisions of interest to dealers:
Open Recalls 
This provision requires a dealer to notify a service customer of an open recall when the dealership is servicing a vehicle within the dealer’s franchise and if the dealer is required to do so pursuant to its franchise agreement. Dealers who fail to comply are not not entitled to fair reimbursement for remedying the vehicle. Dealers are encouraged to verify open recall procedures with manufacturers.
Tire Registration 
This provision requires a rulemaking to mandate that tire dealers, including auto dealers who sell tires, transmit customer information to the tire manufacturer and maintain records of tire purchasers. More details on this requirement will be detailed when rulemaking occurs. 
This provision creates incentives for motor vehicle manufacturers, parts suppliers or dealership employees who voluntarily provide the Secretary of Transportation with information relating to motor vehicle defects, non-compliance or violations of any notification or reporting requirements which are likely to cause unreasonable risk of death or serious physical injury. This provision awards whistleblowers up to 30 percent of the collected monetary sanctions for reporting wrongdoing. It applies to dealership employees only when fines exceeds $1 million.