AB 471 Implementation Strategy
On September 28, 2021, Governor Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill (AB) 471 (Low, Chapter 372, Statutes of 2021). The bill contains several changes to the Automotive Repair Act significantly impacting the automotive repair industry.
Citations for Automotive Repair Dealers - Since January 2020, the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) has been working with industry stakeholders toward implementing a new citation program for automotive repair dealers (ARDs) for violations of the Automotive Repair Act. The objective of the proposed program is to give BAR an additional enforcement tool, other than education, for minor violations that do not warrant revoking a license. The program also provides consumers with information about violations so that they can make an informed decision when choosing a repair shop.
Pursuant to AB 471, the proposed program has been expanded to include, on or after July 1, 2023, an informal appeal process for ARD citations and a three-member panel to review informal appeals. The panel will consist of representatives from BAR, industry, and the public.
BAR discussed the new program at the October 2020 BAR Advisory Group meeting and during public workshops in April 2021, July 2021, and January 2022. Regulations are in development.
Remedial Training and Provider Certification - As required by AB 471, BAR is developing regulations for a remedial training program. Enrollment in the program will allow the ARD to not disclose citations for Automotive Repair Act violations deemed minor in nature but only once every 18 months. In addition, the regulations will establish the required content for the remedial training course and develop a certification process for remedial training providers. BAR discussed the proposed regulations at a public workshop in March 2022.
ARD Application and Educational Certifications - Updates to the existing ARD registration application are forthcoming to incorporate new provisions of AB 471. Those provisions include the addition of the automotive repair dealer’s telephone number, email address, and motor vehicle license plate number if the applicant is engaged in mobile automotive repairs. In addition, new regulations will create a process for BAR to accept and connect educational and professional certifications to BAR-issued ARD registrations. BAR is planning future enhancements to the Auto Shop Locator to display this new application and certification information.
Vehicle Safety Inspection Program - AB 471 creates a new vehicle safety inspection and certification program that will, at a minimum, combine the current brake and lamp inspection programs into one program by January 1, 2024. The new legislation allows BAR to consider and add additional vehicle systems for inspection as part of the safety inspection. It also allows for the transition from paper to electronic certificates of compliance for these inspections. To solicit input from industry and other stakeholders to support the development of regulations for the new program, BAR released a stakeholder survey earlier this year and continues to conduct outreach activities.
Storage Fees - Since 2018, BAR has been providing guidance to the automotive repair industry about reasonable and appropriate storage fees. AB 471 modifies Business and Professions Code section 9884.16 to add a valid registration requirement as a prerequisite for an ARD to charge storage fees in accordance with applicable laws.
Development of draft regulations for these provisions is prioritized in accordance with the implementation dates prescribed in AB 471. For more information on implementation efforts, including updates on upcoming public workshops and regulatory actions, join BAR’s email list, and visit the Public Workshops and Regulatory Actions pages at www.bar.ca.gov.