SEMA newsletter

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    Josh Registered Member

    Dec 11, 2000
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    Below is the March 2001 email edition of the Specialty Equipment Market
    Association's (SEMA) "Driving Force" newsletter. As always, feel free to
    reprint any or all of the information contained within it. All we ask is
    for attribution if you choose to do so. If you need any additional
    background please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Brian Caudill, Editor

    Utah Pro-Hobby Raised Vehicle Bill Continues to Move

    Due to the strong efforts of the Utah 4 Wheel Drive Association (U4WDA),
    SEMA and Utah SEMA Action Network contacts, Utah bill H.B. 49, seeking to
    allow fair and reasonable modification of 4x4s, has passed the Utah House
    and the Utah Senate Transportation Committee. At press time, the U4WDA was
    anticipating a vote by the full Utah Senate.

    H.B. 49 allows for suspension and body lifts and wheel and tire alterations
    based on gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR). These modifications are often
    necessary for trail-riding activities and also come in handy in states like
    Utah where rugged terrain and rough weather are facts of life. Additionally,
    H.B. 49 has widespread support from industry and regulators nationwide and
    is based on the current model standard of the American Association of Motor
    Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA).

    "H.B. 49 provides for useful performance-enhancing modifications that allow
    adequate clearance for on/off-road activity and accommodates heavy loads,
    larger tires, improved suspension and water-fording capability," said SEMA
    Director of Government Affairs Steve McDonald. "In addition, the bill
    amends the current Utah law which is difficult to understand and enforce and
    provides no real value to 4x4 hobbyists. Finally, this bill
    strives to protect and promote outdoor activity and vehicle enthusiasts in

    Mississippi Bills Would Limit Auxiliary Lighting Equipment

    Two separate bills introduced in the Missiissippi legislature seek to limit
    the use of auxiliary lighting equipment. The first (S.B. 221) would
    effectively ban the sale, installation and use of spotlamps, floodlamps and
    other auxiliary lighting equipment in the state. The second bill(s) S.B.
    2737, and its companion H.B. 1121, seeks to ban the use of auxiliary white
    lights (mounted on or near the rear of a vehicle) on vehicles with a gross
    weight of more than 12,001 pounds, including campers, RVs and larger trucks.
    Further, S.B. 2737/H.B. 1121 would limit consumer choice by restricting
    these lights on vehicles less then 12,001 pounds to those designed by the
    motor vehicle manufacturers ‹ no aftermarket lights would be allowed.

    Both of these potential lighting bans ignore some salient facts: 1) Lighting
    systems have legitimate uses such as for hunting and camping activities, 2)
    Auxiliary lights, in many cases, improve driving vision and safety, and 3)
    There is little safety data demonstrating the need to ban these devices.

    Mississippi SEMA Action Network clubs and contacts have been alerted to
    these bills and SEMA is working with bill sponsors to try and alleviate the
    obvious problems.

    Georgia Legislation Would Eliminate Suspension Alterations, Limit Lighting

    Georgia legislation (H.B. 192) seeks to extend the state¹s ban on vehicles
    whose suspension is altered more than 2 inches above or below the factory
    recommendation. Currently, this law only applies to passenger cars, and now
    some folks in the legislature are trying to extend it to Georgia's trucks,
    jeeps and SUVs. The bill also seeks to restrict customization and vehicle
    personalization by completely banning all taillight covers other than
    factory or factory replacement equipment.

    Affected SEMA-member companies and Georgia SEMA Action Network clubs,
    including the Southern Four Wheel Drive Association, are encouraged to
    contact their legislators to try and block this legislation. Arguments
    against this legislation are many: H.B. 192 would ban reasonably altered
    vehicles due to overstated concerns about bumper height mismatch;
    effectively makes vehicle manufacturers the sole authority on vehicle
    height; and force owners of modified vehicles to spend bunches of money to
    reinstall original components. Finally, H.B. 192 would ban taillamp covers
    even when the lamps are not in use.

    SEMA Director of Government and Technical Affairs Steve McDonald noted, "Our
    conversations with Georgia legislators indicate a significant lack of
    support for this bill. It is unlikely to receive serious committee
    consideration in this legislative session."

    Vermont Legislation Looks to Crush Older Vehicles

    In yet another misguided attempt by legislators to reduce pollution, Vermont
    lawmakers are proposing a statewide vehicle crushing initiative (H.B. 15).
    Under the bill, vehicle crushers would be dispatched to various locations to
    accept vehicles from owners for crushing and reclamation.

    Unlike the typical scrappage program, H.B. 15 does not provide any specific
    cash incentive to the owner for crushing a vehicle. One-half of the cost of
    the program will be paid by the state, while local and regional governments
    and the private sector will cover the remaining half. Typical or not, this
    program suffers from the same faulty logic as all other programs designed to
    crush cars. These programs fail to produce any verifiable pollution benefit,
    rob hobbyists of parts cars and restoration projects and deny low-income
    drivers access to affordable transportation.

    Vermont SEMA Action Network organizations and contacts know the drill on
    car-crusher programs and have been alerted to this bill.

    Pro-Hobbyist Street Rod Bill Introduced in New York

    A bill (S.B. 539/A.B. 2145) has been introduced in the New York legislature
    that would create a vehicle registration classification for street rods. The
    legislation defines a street rod as a vehicle manufactured for the 1948
    model year or earlier that has been substantially altered in some fashion.
    It also provides for distinctive license plates inscribed with "Street Rod."

    S.B. 539/A.B. 2145 also provides for the use of year-of-manufacture license
    plates and provides that vehicles registered as street rods shall be used as
    collectors items for parades, club activities, tours, and occasional
    transportation and could not be used for general transportation purposes.
    New York street rodders and clubs have been alerted to this legislation.

    Special Section: LEGISLATIVE DEJA VU

    It's Back! Oregon Reintroduces Bill to Restrict Raised Vehicles

    Just last year, Oregon enthusiasts were successful in persuading the Oregon
    legislature to abandon a bill that would have severely limited vehicle
    suspension, body lift and wheel/tire alterations. S.B. 453 seeks to ban
    vehicles whose bumpers are elevated more than 3 inches over the original
    manufactured bumper clearance. Apparently, not everyone heeded last year¹s
    lesson - the bill (S.B. 453) has been reintroduced.

    Needless to say, S.B. 453 would severely hamper hobbyists¹ ability to
    responsibly modify their 4x4s. As a result, the SEMA Action Network (SAN)
    has alerted clubs, notably Oregon members of the Pacific Northwest 4 Wheel
    Drive Association (PNW) about the need to fight this legislation. In typical
    fashion, the PNW, SEMA-member companies and other Oregon enthusiasts are
    fighting this legislation through an aggressive letter, phone and e-mail
    campaign. We are hopeful that legislators will see the light (again) and
    drop this intrusive and unnecessary bill.

    Its Back (#2) Nebraska Goes After Nitrous Oxide Again

    Legislation, L.B. 345, has been introduced in the Nebraska legislature that
    would prohibit the use of fuel power booster delivery systems, including
    nitrous oxide, on motor vehicles operated in the state.

    The L.B. 345 prohibition would include any "device or fuel enhancer . . .
    that provides a motor vehicle with the capability to operate at speeds in
    excess of the design of the motor vehicle." Notably, this provision could be
    construed to also unfairly ban the use of turbo chargers, super chargers and
    many other performance-enhancement products. L.B. 345 also ignores the fact
    that some vehicles, such as large trucks or motorhomes, often use nitrous
    systems for added hill-climbing or hauling power. Finally, this bill would
    essentially allow the police alone to determine at what speeds vehicles are
    designed to operate.

    SEMA is particularly frustrated with the reintroduction of this legislation.
    For the last 2 years, Nebraska SEMA Action Network contacts such as the
    Eastern Nebraska/Western Iowa Car Club Council and the Nebraska Rod and
    Custom Association have worked hard to defeat identically ill-considered and
    ill-drafted legislation. Now it is back again.

    The truth about this new bill is the same as it was 2 years ago: No health
    or safety data exists to warrant a complete ban on nitrous oxide systems and
    the bill is written so broadly that it can be interpreted to make ANYTHING
    that enhances speed illegal‹from turbo and superchargers to flow-through air
    filters to relatively innocuous gas and oil additives.

    Its Back (#3) Alabama Reintroduces "Nuisance" Vehicle Bill

    Legislation (H.B. 53) has been reintroduced in the Alabama legislature that
    would allow local areas to adopt procedures for the removal of an inoperable
    motor vehicle on private property when the motor vehicle is deemed a
    "nuisance." The bill defines an inoperable vehicle as any motor vehicle
    that has remained on private property and in view of the general public for
    at least 30 days, providing that one or more of its major components are
    missing, not functional or otherwise constitute a nuisance.

    This same bill was successfully defeated by SEMA last year with the help of
    SEMA Action Network organizations like the Alabama Vehicle Club Council and
    the Shelby County Wheels of Time. With their help again, we are hopeful that
    this legislation can be blocked before someone¹s project vintage GTO,
    Mercury Marauder or 46 Ford is considered a "nuisance."

    It's Back (#4) Vermont Reintroduces Junk Vehicle Bill

    Yet another reintroduced inoperable vehicle bill threatens vehicle
    collectors, builders and restorers. H.B. 9 would amend Vermont¹s current
    definition of "junkyard," removing a requirement that a junkyard may be
    regulated only if it is used as a business. Specifically, H.B. 9 expands the
    junkyard definition to include any place with outdoor storage of four or
    more ³junk² motor vehicles visible from a public highway and requires that
    these places be regulated as businesses, regardless of whether the vehicles'
    owner is merely a private collector or not.

    Vermont and New England area SEMA Action Network(SAN) clubs have been
    alerted to this bill and have begun the process of educating Vermont
    legislators on the realities of the old car hobby. Last year, the efforts of
    Vermont area clubs like the Green Mountain Chapter of the American Truck
    Historical Society helped defeat an identical bill. SEMA is hopeful that
    H.B. 9 will meet a similar fate.

    NHTSA Releases Rollover Ratings for Passenger Vehicles

    As part of an ongoing consumer information campaign, the National Highway
    Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has begun releasing rollover ratings
    for passenger cars, light trucks and SUVs. The rating system is determined
    by dividing one-half of a vehicle¹s track width by the height of the center
    of gravity. NHTSA converts the resulting number, called the "static
    stability factor," into a five-star rollover rating scale, fewer stars
    meaning greater tendency to roll over.

    Given this single measurement, taller and narrower vehicles are receiving
    fewer stars than shorter and wider vehicles. Specifically, larger SUVs and
    pickups receive the worst ratings at one to two stars. Minivans generally
    fall in the three-star rating range while passenger cars receive the best
    scores at four and five stars.

    SEMA Director of Outreach and Public Affairs Brian Caudill notes that SEMA
    remains skeptical of NHTSA¹s rollover ratings: "NHTSA's rollover ratings are
    based solely on static mathematical calculations rather than real-world
    testing that takes into account vehicle handling characteristics, driver
    behavior, road and weather conditions. NHTSA's rating system also ignores
    advanced suspension features designed to improve stability in late-model

    Federal legislation passed last year orders NHTSA to also develop a
    "dynamic" vehicle-handling test to determine rollover propensity within the
    next 2 years. It is unclear how and if NHTSA will combine data from both
    the static and dynamic test procedures into an understandable rating.
    Nonetheless, SEMA is hopeful that this round of vehicle testing will produce
    a more useful and reliable measure of vehicle stability. NHTSA¹s posted
    rollover ratings are available at

    Check out SEMA¹s Comprehensive Legislative Update Online

    We've got a new link on the Enjoy the Drive website that gives you
    up-to-date-and regularly updated‹information on pending legislation in your
    state related to the automotive hobby. Come check it out at:

    Third Annual Cancer Cure Cruise in Maryland A Success

    Recently, the third annual Cancer Cure Cruise was held in Columbia, Md. A
    parade of 90 cars made the 7-mile trek from Winn Kelly Chevrolet to
    Merriweather Post Pavilion¹s show grounds near Columbia. Twenty-four car
    clubs participated and there were 150 vehicles in attendance. Most
    importantly, more than $18,000 was raised to fight cancer. All proceeds from
    the event go to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Sixty percent goes
    directly to the Maryland Chapter of ACS, with the other forty percent
    benefitting national research and supporting services.

    A wide variety of car clubs took part in this year's event. Some of the
    participants included: the Maryland Camaro Club, Late Great Chevys of
    Maryland, the Westside Cruisers Car Club, the Chesapeake Bay Mustang Club,
    the Freestate Corvette Club, the Mid Maryland Corvair Club, and the Lost in
    the Fifties Car Club (italicized are SEMA Action Network members). Each
    person participating in the cruise was asked to find sponsors, and some of
    the clubs contributed more than $500 to the cause. There was also the
    opportunity to make a donation as a Memorial or Dedication to a friend or
    loved one. His or her name was then mentioned in the program.

    While the impressive collection of classic and custom cars was the main
    attraction of the event, there was plenty of additional entertainment.
    Guitarists Ellis Woodward and Allan Lake played for the crowd. A raffle was
    held, as well as a live auction. Door prizes were awarded. Toby¹s Dinner
    Theatre and the Young Columbians provided some theatrics. The Howard County
    Police put on a K-9 demonstration. Awards were also given to recognize the
    participants who had raised the most money.

    Driving Force would like to thank Ellie and Ernie Kerbe of the Maryland
    Camaro Club for letting us know about the event. The Cancer Cure Cruise
    supports a great cause while giving auto enthusiasts a chance to get
    together in a very positive way. As Ernie put it, "Most of us have had
    cancer touch our lives or the life of a family member or friend in some way.
    This event is a celebration of life, honoring cancer survivors while
    remembering those who have died from cancer and proclaiming hope for a
    cancer-free future." If you are interested in participating in next year's
    event, you can e-mail Ellie and Ernie Kerbe at

    Newly Introduced Legislation

    Note: The following bills are not laws. They have been recently introduced
    and are currently being considered for adoption by the respective state


    CONNECTICUT: H.B. 1025 would prohibit the DMV from releasing personal
    information unless the requestor signs an affidavit stating that he or she
    will not use the information in an unlawful manner.

    MONTANA: D. 815 would prohibit the DMV from disclosing personal information.

    OREGON: H.B. 2138 would prohibit the DMV from disclosing personal
    information to bulk distributors without written consent.

    SOUTH DAKOTA: H.B. 1045 would prohibit the DMV from disclosing personal
    information without written consent.

    TEXAS: H.B. 799 would prohibit the DMV from disclosing personal information
    without written consent.

    TEXAS: S.B. 111 would prohibit the DMV from disclosing personal information
    unless the person who requests it affirms through a form that it will not be
    used for direct solicitation of business or employment.


    CALIFORNIA: S.B. 100 would provide that an engine in a specially constructed
    vehicle be assigned the model year it most resembles. If no match can be
    found, the designated model year will be 1960.

    COLORADO: H.B. 1091 would establish a Clean Screen emissions test program in
    parts of the state.

    CONNECTICUT: H.B. 5227 would eliminate the emissions testing program.

    CONNECTICUT: H.B. 6329 would require vehicles manufactured in 1998 or later
    to undergo an emissions inspection every 4 years.

    CONNECTICUT: H.B. 6468 and S.B. 955 would exempt vehicles 5 years old or
    newer from emissions inspections.

    CONNECTICUT: H.B. 6480 would exempt vehicles 2 years old or newer from
    emissions inspections.

    CONNECTICUT: S.B. 188 and S.B. 189 would exempt vehicles less than 4 years
    old from emissions inspections.

    ILLINOIS: S.B. 30 would permit owners of vehicles damaged during emissions
    inspections to sue the facility.

    MISSOURI: H.B. 437 and 438 would require biennial inspections in
    non-attainment areas and exempt certain limited production vehicles.


    TEXAS: H.B. 489 would require that a vehicle have both an expired license
    plate and invalid registration to be eligible to be removed under the
    nuisance abatement law.

    VERMONT: H.B. 114 would amend the definition of a junkyard to include places
    of vehicle storage not associated with a business.

    VIRGINIA: H.B. 1824 would allow counties with certain populations to adopt
    ordinances requiring screening of junkyards.

    VIRGINIA: H.B. 1835 would allow localities to remove inoperable vehicles
    from private property as a zoning violation.

    WASHINGTON: H.B. 1163 would make it a violation to abandon a vehicle on
    someone else¹s property, but not your own.


    ARIZONA: H.B. 1449 would prohibit any treatment to headlamps that dims them.

    ARIZONA: H.B. 1455 would prohibit any treatment to side lamps, headlamps or
    tail lamps that dims them.

    ARIZONA: H.B. 2086 would require drivers to burn headlamps when traveling on
    a two-lane highway.

    CONNECTICUT: H.B. 6463 would prohibit the use of fog and auxiliary lamps
    unless conditions warrant their use.

    HAWAII: H.B. 359 would require drivers to burn headlamps when atmospheric
    conditions necessitate the use of windshield wipers.

    INDIANA: H.B. 1049 would require drivers to burn headlamps when atmospheric
    conditions necessitate the use of windshield wipers.

    IOWA: H.B. 29 would require vehicles traveling at 35 mph or more on a
    highway to burn headlamps.

    IOWA: H.B. 91 would require drivers to burn headlamps when atmospheric
    conditions necessitate the use of windshield wipers.

    KANSAS: H.B. 2143 would require drivers to turn off fog and other auxiliary
    lights when within 500 feet of an approaching vehicle and within 300 feet of
    a vehicle to the rear.

    MISSISSIPPI: H.B. 1065 and S.B. 2661 would require headlamps to be burnt
    when there is precipitation.

    NEW HAMPSHIRE: L.B. 146 would require drivers to burn headlamps when
    atmospheric conditions necessitate the use of windshield wipers.

    PENNSYLVANIA: S.B. 162 would require drivers to burn headlamps when
    atmospheric conditions necessitate the use of windshield wipers.

    RHODE ISLAND: S.B. 125 would prohibit drivers from burning more than two
    headlamps when within 500 feet of oncoming traffic.

    VIRGINIA: H.B. 2600 would restrict the use of fog lamps.

    WISCONSIN: S.B. 19 would require drivers to burn headlamps when atmospheric
    conditions necessitate the use of windshield wipers.


    ARKANSAS: S.B. 76 would allow county governments to issue permits for motor
    vehicle racing facilities. Currently, the Department of Environmental
    Quality has this responsibility.

    ARKANSAS: S.B. 97 would eliminate the tax on methanol and leaded gas used
    for racing.

    FLORIDA: H.B. 289 would provide funding for one who constructs and maintains
    a motor sports entertainment complex under state guidelines.

    INDIANA: H.B. 1064 would permit patrons to bring alcoholic beverages into
    any automotive racing facility. Currently, the track must be at least two
    miles in length.

    MICHIGAN: S.B. 7 would prohibit the state exposition and fairgrounds from
    being used for motor vehicle racing.


    COLORADO: H.B. 1071 and S.B. 119 would eliminate the requirement for front
    license plates on motor vehicles.

    GEORGIA: H.B. 117 would amend the definition of an antique motor vehicle to
    those manufactured in 1957 or before. Currently, vehicles manufactured in
    1942 or before are included.

    INDIANA: H.B. 1329 would permit antique vehicles to display genuine or
    reproduction license plates that coincide with the year of manufacture of
    the vehicle.

    INDIANA: H.B. 2144 would provide for special NASCAR license plates.

    MINNESOTA: S.B. 391 would allow motor vehicles to display only a rear
    license plate.

    MISISSIPPI: H.B. 1288 would provide for antique automobile license plates.

    MISSISSIPPI: S.B. 3031 and S.B. 2427 would provide for specialty NASCAR
    license plates.

    NEW HAMPSHIRE: H.B. 366 would permit unregistered antique military vehicles
    to be driven in parades, club activities and other functions of public

    OREGON: S.B. 201 would permit antique vehicles to display only a rear
    license plate.

    RHODE ISLAND: H.B. 5270 would permit antique motor vehicles to display
    antique or year-of-manufacture license plates.

    TENNESSEE: H.B. 159 would permit antique motor vehicles to display
    era-correct license plates.


    CONNECTICUT: H.B. 6525 would allow owners of vehicles that have failed to
    pass a safety inspection to perform obligatory repairs.

    GEORGIA: H.B. 151 would prohibit passenger cars from being operated with a
    nitrous system unless the line feeding the nitrous to the engine is

    HAWAII: H.B. 136 would eliminate the inspection program.

    HAWAII: H.B. 187 would amend the inspection requirement to effectively
    include reconstructed vehicles located in counties of less than 500,000

    HAWAII: S.B. 923 would permit police officers to deem rebuilt or restored
    cars that have been in an accident unsafe.

    MARYLAND: S.B. 183 would allow police to issue drivers of historic vehicles
    a safety equipment repair order if the officer believes that the vehicle
    poses a safety risk.

    OREGON: S.B. 179 would require the seller of a used motor vehicle to have it
    inspected prior to sale.

    OREGON: S.B. 453 would prohibit raising the height of a motor vehicle's
    bumper more than 3 inches.

    PENNSYLVANIA: S.B. 90 would prohibit the bumper of a passenger car or light
    truck from measuring more than 22 inches from the ground.

    VERMONT: S.B. 157 would require new motor vehicles to be inspected annually.
    Currently, new cars are exempt from inspection for 5 years.

    WASHINGTON: S.B. 5494 would set noise limits for vehicle exhaust systems.


    ARKANSAS: H.B. 1378 would prohibit the side windows of motor vehicles from
    being tinted so as to have a light transmittance of less than 50 percent.

    MISSISSIPPI: H.B. 949 and S.B. 2467 would eliminate the requirement that the
    Department of Public Safety and window tinting manufacturers issue decals
    stating that tinted windows are in compliance with state law.

    NEW YORK: A.B. 359 would prohibit all vehicles from having rear side windows
    tinted so as to have a light transmittance of less than 70 percent.

    NORTH DAKOTA: S.B. 2395 would permit front side windows to be tinted,
    provided there is a light transmittance of at least 35 percent. The current
    standard is 70 percent light transmittance.

    SEMA Action Network Club Events

    Mar. 31, Tucson
    Super Grudge Race Day
    Sponsor: Arizona Outlaw Street Cars
    Information: 623/247-7829

    Mar. 8-11, Bakersfield
    March Meet
    Sponsor: Goodguys Rod and Custom Association
    Information: 925/838-9876

    Mar. 17, Santee
    Tech Session
    Sponsor: Buick Grand National Racing Association
    Information: 714/772-6201

    Mar. 24-25, Pleasanton
    Goodguys All-American Get Together
    Sponsor: Goodguys Rod and Custom Association
    Information: 925/838-9876

    Mar. 31, Del Mar
    Goodguys Del Mar Rod and custom Nationals
    Sponsor: Goodguys Rod and Custom Association
    Information: 925/838-9876

    Mar. 3, Greenacres
    Eigth Annual Fun Day in the Park Antique Cars how and Flea Market¹
    Sponsor: Model A Ford Club of America, Palm Beach Region
    Information: 561/746-6641

    Mar. 3, Tampa
    Twentieth Anniversary Mustang, Shelby and Ford Roundup
    Sponsor: Classic Mustangs of Tampa
    Information: 813/885-8357

    Mar. 25, Wheaton
    Buick, Olds, Pontiac, Cadillac 2001 Parts Odyssey
    Sponsor: Illinois Pontiac Oakland Club
    Information: 630/953-8958

    Mar. 4, Stevensville
    All Clubs Meeting
    Sponsor: Kent Island Cruisers
    Information: 410/643-0201

    Mar. 18, Hershey
    Annual Meeting
    Sponsor: Legislative Council of Motor Vehicles

    Mar. 18, Norristown
    2001 British Car Flea Market
    Sponsor: Philadelphia MG Club
    Information: 610/356-4409

    Mar. 10, Sandston
    Casino Night
    Sponsor: Virginia Four Whel Drive Association
    Information: 804/746-1347

    Mar. 10, Puyallup
    Nineteenth Annual 4x4 Off-Road & High Performance Swap Meet
    Sponsor: Spanaway Monshiners Jeep Club
    Information: 253/537-3172

    Mar. 24, Wisconsin Dells
    Second Annual Holiday Party
    Sponsor: Oldsmobile Club of Wisconsin
    Information: 262/886-9806

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