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NBC 10 I-Team: Whitehouse sponsors bill to cut car repair costs

The Promoting Automotive Repair, Trade and Sales Act would reduce a car company's patent on collision repair parts -- things like fenders and doors -- from 14 years to 2.5 years. (WJAR)

Need a new bumper?

It could set you back $1,000.

Federal lawmakers say it shouldn't be that expensive.

"What this will do is to open up the market so that there isn't a car company monopoly," said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.

Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, is teaming up with his Democratic and Republican colleagues in the House and the Senate to reintroduce the PARTS Act. It’s a bill that would reduce a car company's patent on collision repair parts -- things like fenders and doors -- from 14 years to 2.5 years.

"Five years in, 8 years in, 10 years in, the car may be on its second or maybe even third owner by then, and you have a fender bender -- you should be able to go to the market,” Whitehouse said.

Whitehouse said purchasing from an alternative parts supplier, instead of the car company, could cut costs by as much as 50 percent.

Rhode Island-based Amica Mutual Insurance Co. supports the legislation, and Whitehouse said other car insurance companies are on board.

But could it ultimately impact car insurance rates?

"It ought to effect the price that people pay for collision insurance," Whitehouse said.

The PARTS Act failed when it was introduced in 2015.

Whitehouse said the current bill has bipartisan support. Sponsors are hoping to bring it before Congress for a vote soon.

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