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Owens bill becomes law, removes small mandate on car dealers

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A bill introduced by Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, was signed into law Tuesday that removes a federal mandate requiring car dealers make available a booklet on motor vehicle insurance costs.

The law took effect immediately and swept away regulations compelling the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to print an annual booklet titled, Relative Collision Insurance Cost Information. The Safety Administration previously had to send an updated version of the book every year to auto dealers across the nation who were likewise required to make it available to customers or face fines of $1,000 per violation.

Mr. Owens said the book contained information “that’s not really relevant” to car buyers. Car dealers agree.

“It’s been years since anyone’s ever looked at it,” Lynn L. Blevins, owner of Blevins Bros. Chrysler and Dodge dealership in Ogdensburg, said.

Mr. Blevins said the book basically offers a cost comparison for how much insurance fees would amount to on different car models.

“You can figure out how much your insurance payment will be, for instance, between a Dodge Dart and a Ford Focus,” Mr. Blevins said.

Michael J. Viskovich, owner of Fay Motors in Massena, said no one has ever requested to see the book.

“Never, ever, ever, ever. It’s immaterial,” he said.

Mr. Owens said in an announcement the law will save “a couple of thousand dollars per year per dealership.”

Mr. Blevins doesn’t think it will save him that much money. But he said it will save the federal government lots of money on printing fees.

“It’s a good thing that he did it,” Mr. Blevins said. Ultimately, if government continues to find small cost savings like this, “the consumer will see the effect,” he said.

The bill passed the House of Representatives in July and was followed Senate passage in December.

Mr. Owens said it is a small example of the kind of cost-cutting measures he hopes will be included in the ongoing debt ceiling and sequestration negotiations.

“We can do more to streamline government, find efficiencies within existing programs and eliminate regulations that just don’t make sense,” Mr. Owens said in the announcement.

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