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DOES YOUR BUMPER BUMP? N.Y. CONSUMERS WIN AS BUMPER QUALITY LAW TAKES EFFECT

 WASHINGTON, Feb. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Shopping for a new car? Don't kick the tire -- read the label. That's the advice from consumer and safety advocates who are hailing New York's new Bumper Quality Consumer Information law, which takes effect Wednesday. It requires automakers to show the strength of a new car's bumper on a window sticker, making it easier for consumers to tell how strong (or weak) the bumper is. The new law can save the state's auto buyers thousands of dollars in repair and replacement costs.
 New York is the third state to require bumper quality information, although the Empire State has a stronger law than either California or Hawaii. According to Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, a coalition of consumer, safety and insurance groups that led the three-year fight to get the law passed, the bumper is one of the most frequently replaced and repaired automobile parts. Bumper repairs can costs thousands of dollars and, since bumper strength varies widely, it is not easy for consumers to determine how strong the bumpers are on the car they are buying.
 "A common sense way for consumers to avoid high repair costs and reduce insurance costs is to select safe, crashworthy vehicles," said Judith Lee Stone, executive director of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. "This law will give New York consumers critical information to help them make smarter purchasing decisions." Stone's basic advice to consumers? "The higher the number, the stronger the bumper."
 The new Bumper Quality Consumer Information law (A 6212a) was sponsored by Assemblyman Ivan Lafayette (D-Queens) and Sen. Serphin R. Maltese (R-Queens). It passed last summer in the assembly by a vote of 101-34 on June 28 and in the Senate by a vote of 52-6 on July 3. Gov. Mario Cuomo signed it into law in August, noting in his memorandum of approval that, "Motor vehicle safety is one of the most important concerns of today's car buyer. This goal cannot be realized, however, unless the consumer is provided with sufficient information upon which to make an informed decision."
 The bill sponsors and insurance, consumer and safety leaders in New York believe market forces will motivate automakers to manufacture vehicles with stronger bumpers once consumers have the information necessary to make their preference for stronger bumpers known. A Roper Organization poll conducted in 1990 showed that 70 percent of American adults think bumpers are too weak and 72 percent believe automakers should be required to disclose bumper strength information on new cars.
 Current federal law requires only that the vehicle body sustain no damage at crash speeds of 2.5 MPH, although the bumper itself can be destroyed at that low speed. This current standard is a reduction from a previous federal regulation which required no damage to the car or the bumper in 5 MPH crash tests. The New York law requires manufacturers to disclose the maximum speed (MPH) at which the car body sustains no damage and the bumper sustains only minimal damage.
 Dozens of insurance and agents organizations and consumer groups from New York and across the nation worked for passage of the bill.
 Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is a broad-based alliance of consumer, safety and law enforcement groups and insurance and agents organizations. The following Fact Sheets are available by FAX: "Bumper Facts," "New York's Bumper Law" and "Results of Roper Organization's Public Opinion Poll." Call Katherine Hutt at Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, 202-408-1711.
 -0- 2/1/93
 /CONTACT: Katherine Hutt of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, 202-408-1711/


CO: Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety ST: New York IN: AUT SU: LEG

DC -- DC015 -- 1345 02/01/93 11:47 EST
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Date:Feb 1, 1993
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