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Owens bill becomes law, removes small mandate on car dealers

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A new law that was introduced by Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, and takes effect this week removes a federal mandate requiring car dealers to make available a booklet on motor vehicle insurance costs.

The law swept away regulations compelling the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to print an annual booklet titled “Relative Collision Insurance Cost Information.”

The NHTSA previously had to send an updated version of the book every year to auto dealers across the nation, who likewise were 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,” said Lynn L. Blevins, owner of Blevins Bros. Chrysler and Dodge dealership in Ogdensburg.

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,” he 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 said he 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.

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