WASHINGTON (Nov. 15, 2000)—"A new day has dawned" at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration because of the Firestone recall, according to Sue Bailey, NHTSA administrator since August.
The recall of 6.5 million tires spurred passage of the Transportation Recall Enhancement Accountability and Documentation Act, which among other things requires a rewrite of current tire safety standards and establishment of a rule mandating dashboard tire pressure sensors.
"The clock will not be turned back, regardless of the (results of the) election," Ms. Bailey said, noting that the reporting requirements under the TREAD Act will make defect investigations much easier and earlier than before. "Had we had the data they (Bridgestone/Firestone Inc.) had, we would have had an investigation years sooner, and we would have had a recall not nearly so damaging to the company," she said.
Ms. Bailey praised BFS and its CEO, John Lampe, for "a phenomenal effort on their part" in replacing the recalled tires.
Rewriting tire safety rules, she added, will not be unduly difficult because the new standard isn´t due till June 2002 and NHTSA and the tire industry have already done much of the work. "We won´t have to go back to the drawing board on this," she said.