Postings

Now is not the time to rush autonomous vehicle legislation through Congress
During this time of national emergency, Congress should be focusing on ensuring the health and financial well-being of Americans, not rushing forward with inadequate driverless vehicle legislation that puts the interests of the auto industry and tech companies ahead of people’s safety. Yet, House Republicans have recently called for the revival of an autonomous vehicle bill (arguing that self-driving vehicles can be part of the Covid-19 response). In a letter to Congress, coalition advocates urged legislative leaders to reject attempts to attach driverless car legislation to a must-pass relief bills, including any packages that address the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Any continued efforts to pass driverless vehicle legislation at this critical juncture would be a mistake.

Vehicle owners should have control over their vehicle’s data
Consumer Action signed on to the U.S. Vehicle Data Access Coalition’s comment letter regarding bi-partisan and bi-cameral autonomous vehicle legislation to members of Congress. The coalition has the federal legislative goal to reaffirm and codify a motor vehicle owner’s right to control the motor vehicle data generated by their vehicles.

Opposition to commercial driver labor standards puts California workers and drivers at risk
Advocates oppose the American Bus Association’s petition to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to preempt California’s longstanding meal and rest break laws as applied to passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicles.

Last-ditch effort to prevent auto lending discrimination fails
Consumer Action and its allies wrote to Congress on April 16 to plead that it not interfere with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s efforts to prevent auto loan discrimination. The Bureau’s “guidance” to car lenders sought to end a common discriminatory practice to charge some borrowers more in interest and fees, regardless of their creditworthiness (“dealer mark-ups”). Even though these discriminatory violations still occur, the Senate on April 18 moved to eliminate the 2013 guidance document, allowing the practice to continue. These discretionary auto dealer mark-ups result, in some cases, in African Americans and Latinos paying more than similarly situated white borrowers.

Stringent safety requirements needed before driverless cars hit the road
In a March 5 letter to Senate leadership, coalition advocates conveyed strong objections to the lack of safety protections in proposed driverless car legislation and urged Senate leaders to make essential improvements to the AV START Act (S.1885). The groups warned that prioritizing the protection of private investments in unproven technologies instead of protecting public safety could have dangerous consequences, and there are numerous critical concerns regarding the rushed deployment of driverless cars. (Last week the earlier warning took on new urgency when an automated Uber vehicle killed a pedestrian in Arizona.)

Advertising recalled vehicles as ‘safe’ is bad business for consumers
Most recalled consumer products are illegal to sell until the product has been repaired or replaced. However, many recalled vehicles are allowed to continue operating on the road while a fix is pending. These cars and trucks may also be sold before the recalled repair has been done. We think that’s wrong and dangerous for consumers. Coalition advocates joined together in asking the Federal Trade Commission to prohibit auto dealers, including retail giant Car Max, from engaging in false advertising regarding the safety of unrepaired recalled cars.

Cars now safer to rent, thanks to mom-turned-advocate
A mother’s 11-year crusade resulted in President Barack Obama signing a bill that requires rental car companies to repair vehicles under safety recall orders before renting them to consumers. It is now illegal, under federal law, for a rental car company with a loaner or a rental car fleet of 35 vehicles or more, to rent, loan, or sell an unrepaired recalled rental or loaner car until the safety defects have been repaired.

Lawmakers open the door for discrimination when buying a car
Consumer Action joined consumer advocates in opposing the Reforming CFPB Indirect Auto Financing Guidance Act (H.R. 1737) which allows racially discriminatory car lending practices. If the bill passes, it could restore a system that routinely charges black and Latino borrowers hundreds of dollars more for car loans than similarly-qualified white borrowers.

Don’t restrict the CFPB’s oversight of auto financing issues
In the latest effort to restrict the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) jurisdiction, legislators target the agency’s regulatory power over the auto financing industry. The “Reforming CFPB Indirect Auto Financing Guidance Act” (H.R. 1737) places unnecessary restrictions on the agency and is designed to hamper the agency’s attempts to bring fairness and transparency to the auto lending market.

Policy riders threaten vital public safeguards, hijack budget process
A coalition of 178 groups is urging President Barack Obama and all 535 members of Congress to oppose any federal appropriations bill that contains inappropriate and ideological policy riders. These riders would jeopardize policies that restrain Wall Street abuses; guarantee clean air, food and water; ensure safe consumer products and continued access to vital health care services; keep homes and workplaces safe; prevent consumer rip-offs; and hold big corporations accountable for wrongdoing.

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