March 23, 2020
Center for Auto Safety statement regarding:
The essential nature of vehicle repair and maintenance during COVID-19 shutdowns
In these unprecedented times, it has never been more important the vehicles transporting our critical workers are safe and able to be repaired. We write today to urge your jurisdiction to strongly consider deeming motor vehicle repair and maintenance facilities, supply operations, and roadside services as “essential.” First responders, medical professionals, and delivery personnel are regularly dependent on a properly-functioning, safe, and reliable vehicle to carry out their essential tasks.
The Center for Auto Safety (the Center), founded in 1970, is an independent, non-profit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. We are dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy for our members and all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians across the country. For 50 years, we have successfully led the fight for lemon laws in every state, airbags in every vehicle, and recall repairs being made at no cost to consumers.
Accordingly, we were pleased to see the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) advise that under the Transportation and Logistics category: “Automotive repair and maintenance facilities” as well as the “Employees who repair and maintain vehicles that encompass movement of cargo and passengers” should be on the list of recommended Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers. We agree.
In the months to come a majority of the Americans who will be keeping us safe, and restarting our economy, including health professionals, public works personnel, and first responders will rely on passenger motor vehicles to transport themselves, or others, to critical facilities. Further, as grocery stores and pharmacies are expected to be operational for the duration of this crisis, their related workforces including delivery, logistics, and store personnel will need to get to a physical location outside of their home to perform these roles.
In other words, considerations regarding the transportation sector must include a recognition of the vital need for access to a working vehicle, as well as recognizing that such vehicles are often in need of repair, recall, or emergency maintenance.