Accessibility groups wrangle over specifics of bill

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

WASHINGTON – The Independent Auto Lift Dealers of America has appealed to lawmakers to tweak a bill in the House of Representatives, as well as a companion bill being considered in the Senate, that seeks to improve the provision of automobiles and adaptive equipment by Veterans Affairs.

In a May 19 letter to the chairman of the Senate’s Committee of Veterans Affairs, the group said the bill, H.R. 3471: “needs a more robust conflict-of-interest provision related to the use of a third-party certification organization for the new safety standards.”

The Independent Auto Lift Dealers of America says the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association drafted the bill as part of its campaign to become designated as the VA’s third-party certification organization.

That’s unfair, the Independent Auto Life Dealers of America says, because NMEDA is dominated by three large national chains.

“We need the Senate to amend this legislation to prohibit an organizations from being a certifying body if it is comprised of members that engage in the same commercial activities as other companies that would have to seek certification,” the letter states. “There are plenty of independent and neutral third-party organizations that could certify compliance with new standards, in addition to the manufacturers.”

The Independent Auto Lift Dealers of America also says the bill should be tweaked to better differentiate between simple and complex modifications to ensure that exterior lifts that don’t affect the operation of or alter the structure of the vehicle may continue to be installed at home.

“Under current law, the vast majority of these lifts are installed in the driveway of the veteran’s home in as little as 30 minutes, as opposed to an equipment dealer’s place of business, which is far more convenient for veterans and their families,” the letter states. “These driveway installations are completed by our installers that have been trained and certified by the manufacturers of the equipment.”