WASHINGTON (Oct. 11, 2000)—The House passed by voice vote early this morning the TREAD Act that would enhance the federal government´s powers in case of tire and auto safety defects.
The Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act previously had been approved unanimously by the House Commerce Committee. Fred Upton, R.-Mich., the bill´s original sponsor, said negotiations are under way with the Senate to try to craft a final bill that can be passed before the Senate adjourns.
As passed, the House bill would toughen a number of requirements for tire and auto makers. For example, the bill:
*Mandates they report foreign recalls and satisfaction programs to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration;
*Bans the sale of tires and other auto equipment named in a recall; directs NHTSA to initiate rulemaking to establish an "early warning" system to notify the agency of unusual numbers of product complaints; and
*Establishes criminal penalties of up to $100,000 and 15 years in prison for executives who knowingly sell fatally or injuriously defective products and lie to NHTSA about it.