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Statement About Signing the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act

American Government

Statement About Signing the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act

President Richard Nixon
October 21, 1972

IT GIVES me great pleasure to have signed into law S. 976, the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act. This legislation represents another significant victory for the American consumer, this time in the effort to roll back the soaring costs of automobile repair.

It is estimated that last year Americans spent some $25-$30 billion for automobile maintenance and damage repairs. While most of this work was necessary and legitimate, it is undeniably true that some of it was improper or unnecessary.

To help end this injustice, to promote competition between automobile manufacturers in designing safe and damage resistant cars, and to help reduce personal injuries, this Administration proposed a Federal program to provide consumers with accurate information about the comparative safety and damageability of passenger cars. It is my belief that in a free marketplace, a well-informed consumer is the best insurance we have of obtaining quality merchandise.

I am particularly gratified that this act adopts this philosophy. Under title II of the act, the Secretary of Transportation is directed to conduct a study of the damage susceptibility, crashworthiness, and ease of diagnosis and repair among the various car makes and models. The Secretary shall develop procedures whereby auto dealers shall distribute information from this study to prospective purchasers so that they will have a better understanding of the differences between various models.

The act also authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to establish cost-effective bumper performance standards for new cars manufactured in, or imported into, the United States. Since effective bumpers are a key to preventing most automobile damage caused by low-speed collisions, these standards should help to insure substantial resistance to collision damage and significant reduction in repair cost without compromising driver safety.

An additional consumer cost-saving provision authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to assist the States in developing demonstration projects to explore and develop improved methods of diagnosing both mechanical problems and collision damage.

Finally, the act establishes a national prohibition against tampering with motor vehicle odometers. This unscrupulous practice, which has been used by interstate traffickers in used vehicles to cheat consumers out of millions of dollars, will now be brought under the authority of a single, comprehensive Federal law that will supplement existing State laws.

This act is an important and overdue initiative to aid the American consumer in the fight against the high cost of automobile repairs--and against faulty or unnecessary repairs. It reflects this Administration's commitment that our free market system shall work for the benefit of the American consumer, and I am pleased to sign it into law.

Note: As enacted, S. 976, approved October 20, 1972, is Public Law 92-513 (86 Stat. 947).

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