vehicle safety

NHTSA Issues NPRM to Increase Record Retention Requirements

NHTSA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) with regards to the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which required the Secretary of Transportation to extend the period of time manufacturers of motor vehicles, tires and child restraint systems must retain records concerning defects and malfunctions.

The FAST Act directed the Secretary to issue a rule increasing the time of record retention to a period not less than ten years, instead of the five years presently required. This would only apply to requirements under CFR 576.6. NHTSA is not extending the period for which manufacturers are required to retain records underlying information reported to NHTSA pursuant to 49 CFR part 579. The effects of extending the time that records underlying information reported under part 579 must be retained would be limited to motor vehicle equipment manufacturers who do not manufacturer child restraint systems or tires.

Comments to the agency are due no later than July 15, 2019. The entire NPRM can be viewed here.

Committee on Energy and Commerce Seeks Answers from NHTSA

In a letter submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on April 17, 2019, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone and Jan Schakowsky, chair of the panel’s consumer protection subcommittee, requested an update on NHTSA’s current workload, the work of its bureaus and offices, and its interactions with the public through its handling of consumer complaints. The letter asked that Deputy Administrator Heidi King provide answers to a series of questions by May 17, 2019.

The questions included asking the number of safety investigations opened, the progress toward implementing the 2018 recommendations from the Inspector General, and updates on the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) and Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act rulemaking deadlines, which have been repeatedly missed.

Kinetic Metrics recently conducted its own survey of how many investigations NHTSA has opened since the introduction of the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act, shown in the table below.

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Investigation numbers fell significantly in the past three years, with the number of Preliminary Evaluations dropping by 50% in years 2016 and 2017. Although investigation numbers have dropped, NHTSA has collected over $250 million in fines from the automotive industry in the same time frame. Provided these questions are answered next month, NHTSA may find itself in a position to make up for these deficiencies. Here at Kinetic Metrics we have always emphasized the importance of being proactive with safety. Do not fall victim to safety oversights, check out all the services we offer and talk to us about how we can help your company operate efficiently, effectively, and most of all, safely.