The BC Automotive Glass Alliance was formed in the summer of 2018 in response to a series of short sighted moves by ICBC that have put both the driving public and the future of independent automotive glass retailers in serious jeopardy.
Although much of ICBC’s financial woes stem from over litigation and annual cash grabs by various provincial governments, ICBC has continually targeted the Auto Glass industry by suppressing it’s labour rates for more than 20 years. Recently it implemented a pricing policy that results in a 20-30% decrease in what Auto Glass Shops are permitted to charge for glass parts. The new pricing policy also requires shops to call the Dealerships for comparison pricing on each claim. This new administrative burden has been very costly and devastating to the operations of small independent shops but most importantly it poses a safety hazard, as customers are made to delay the replacement of their windshield until the cheapest part is available.
The windshield is an integral part of a vehicles safety features and is actually designed to provide structural integrity to a vehicle in the event of a rollover accident. It also serves as a backstop for the airbags. If the windshield is not properly installed or if the windshield is damaged then you have the potential for an airbag not positioning properly or the airbag blowing out the windshield, instead of saving a life!
Here are just two examples of insurance companies who DO understand the role the windshield plays in keeping the occupants of a vehicle safe:
Watch the first 65 seconds of this video about what can happen when an airbag deploys on a damaged or incorrectly installed windshield.
Yet, ICBC’s new pricing policy forces customers to wait longer to have their windshield replaced. ICBC is responsible for road safety yet pays vendors with no qualifications for replacing windshields; this is a complete disregard for the lives of British Columbians. It is completely within ICBC’s control to take proactive and responsible actions to correct this threat to public safety.
ICBC and the Government should not allow for windshields to be replaced by anyone other than a FULL TIME Certified Auto Glass technician or a supervised registered Apprentice at an approved Glass Express Facility.
Many years ago, Barbara Walters did a feature story on 20/20 Marketplace (see video below) about the dangers of having uncertified technicians installing windshields. This is still true today. The interview of the paralyzed woman starting at 4 minutes 5 second into the clip below is heartbreaking. Yet, ICBC has done nothing to prevent uncertified technicians from operating in BC, even though we have a Government Training and Certification program.
An increasing number of vehicles have what is termed an advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS). It includes technology designed to keep cars in their lanes and prevent them from getting too close to other vehicles. ADAS reduces accidents and it is estimated that one in four cars in North America will have the technology by 2020.
The sensors for this system are largely located within the vehicles front windshield. If you end up getting a windshield replaced and the cameras and sensors have not been properly recalibrated, the ADAS can malfunction; not work at all; or worse yet send your car into oncoming traffic instead of helping you avoid a collision.
This is exactly what happened to one driver in Newfoundland: cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/camera-directed-car-toward-oncoming-traffic-after-windshield-replacement...
“It was a startling feeling to have the steering wheel actually pulling you into traffic...”
-- Chris Ash after having his windshield changed.
ADAS systems that are currently on the market include collision mitigation braking systems, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assistance systems, blind spot detection systems, back-up cameras with cross-traffic warnings, pedestrian detection and eye tracking systems. The ADAS systems can reduce the risk of collision for both the attentive and inattentive driver. For example, a 2016 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) study indicated that a simple back-up camera could reduce accident rates for drivers over the age of 70 by 40 per cent. Essentially, these systems will save ICBC money, so long as they make the choice to support the Auto Glass Industry, instead of destroying it.
The following Youtube video helps explain the importance of calibration. The Opti Aim device featured in the video is one that costs glass shops $20,000-$25,000. With ADAS technology growing at leaps and bounds, glass shops need to invest in this equipment. However, ICBC’s suppressed labour rates and new pricing policy makes it impossible for independent glass shops to have sufficient margins in their businesses to be able to purchase it:
The Auto Glass industry for years has presented cost saving opportunities to ICBC and ensured Government was aware of these proposals yet none of these have been adopted.
The BCAGA is proud of our Industry; our Government Certified Installers working within it; and the job we perform in keeping the public safe. For over 20 years this skilled trade has been certified by the Government of BC and is the only jurisdiction in North America that has Government Certified Auto Glass Installers.
The fact is, ICBC and the Government are responsible for road safety, skilled jobs, and sound fiscal management in both the short term and long term. ICBC, a Crown Corporation has a monopoly position with basic insurance and a dominate position in general. With this great power comes both responsibility and opportunity. The BC Auto Glass Alliance is thankful to be able to assist in both areas.
The BCAGA is confident that, with the support of the motoring public, the BC Government and ICBC will see the wisdom in maintaining a successful automotive glass sector and ensuring that these shops are financially able to make the investment required to purchase equipment for recalibrating ADAS systems, and to recruit and hire for this Government Certified trade.
Contact us for further information on how you can be involved and support our Industry.More Information