Happy Friday Elio friends and fans! Today we are going to discuss the helmet and licensing progress that the Elio Team has made and continues to make as we move toward production. Licensing and helmets are an important step in our progress and we have a team dedicated to making it happen. The Governmental Affairs team is led by a long time Elio man, Vice President of Governmental Affairs Joel Sheltrown. Before Joel joined the Elio team he served as a State Representative in Michigan. Joel brings the necessary skills to this important role and a great understanding of what the process is and how to get things done.
The licensing and helmet laws in the US are not driven from the Federal level but instead they are decided on a state by state basis. This makes the job a little more challenging by having to go state to state to affect change. Statutes in a state can be confusing and even contradicting. One group will take a statute literally while another will go by the “intent” of the language. In some instances different departments interpret different sections differently (yes, that was written like that on purpose!). The team works with the individual state departments to help them get the correct statutes and promulgated rules in place and to drive positive outcomes.
The timelines from start to final legislation can vary widely as well. Many states have existing legislation (CA, NV, WA, plus many more) which takes no time. Some states react very quickly like Colorado which went from meeting to passing in both chambers in 30 days. Others, well, take longer. We’ve had one piece of legislation get all the way to the Governor only to get vetoed for unrelated items that are added into the language (note that this will be rectified shortly, no worries).
Today when it comes to helmets, you can drive an Elio in 45 states without a helmet. We are still working with Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Mississippi and West Virginia on their current helmet legislation. Below is the US map as it sits today for helmet laws. This is always available on the website as well. Click here
Licensing is treated separately from helmets in the law. A two-wheeled motorcycle requires an endorsement to your license or a separate license to ride. For the Elio, we are about split with the states that will not require a license or endorsement and those that will. This is more challenging to find in the statutes in that it can have many different names or types (e.g. trike, reverse trike, enclosed cabin, automotive controls) and can be held in a completely different piece of law from cars and motorcycles.
Another major item that the team has been able to accomplish is to get a positive endorsement from the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA). AAMVA is an organization whose members are administrators from every state and whose goals are to address issues such as three-wheel requirements and recommend best practices back to the states. AAMVA has “strongly urged” states to modify legislation for vehicles like ours to require a regular driver’s licence and provided other direction on items like license plate size etc. States will use these suggestions to modify their current laws.
Many of you have emailed and asked if you can help. Yes! We have called on Elio supporters in a couple of states already to help us out, and your letters and calls have really made a difference. We are using a targeted approach when the need for help arises. We will send messages through Facebook to our fans and by email to our reservation holders for a particular state that we are working with. This has been effective (MO) and we will continue to call on our Elio’ers as we move forward. Thanks in advance for your help!
As you can see the team has made great strides (with your help!) so far, including two states passing legislation in the last week removing helmets and licensing requirements (CO and IL). This creates great momentum so that no state wants to be “that state” that doesn’t jump on board. We are confident that all of the necessary laws will be in place for the entire country before the Elio rolls out in 2015.
Elio Motors Preview Tour stops this coming week:
May 19 – 22: Internet Week, New York Headquarters: Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street. Hours: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm (Open to the public, the event will charge for entry)
Thanks as always for your continued support.