WASHINGTON (Sept. 13, 2000) — The Senate Commerce Committee will mark up legislation Sept. 20 to give the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration more authority to gather information and punish wrongdoers in cases of product safety defects and recalls.
Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., announced the session Sept. 12 at a hearing on the recall of 6.5 million Firestone tires, saying he hoped to get the bill through Congress before it adjourns for elections in October. While the exact content of the bill isn´t available, it is likely to contain all the items on the wish list of NHTSA Administrator Sue Bailey and Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater.
* Removing the ceiling on civil penalties for defective products;
*Extending the period within which manufacturers must replace defective products free to consumers;
*Require manufacturers to test their products for compliance;
*Require manufacturers to report information about safety defects in vehicles, tires or parts overseas;
*Give NHTSA greater authority to obtain auto and tire safety information from foreign governments and organizations; and
*Increasing federal funding of NHTSA´s safety enforcement program.