WASHINGTON (May 16, 2001)–In issuing regulations required by the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation Act, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration must define its terms as closely as possible, according to Donald B. Shea, president of the Rubber Manufacturers Association.
The pending “early warning” regulation, for example, will require manufacturers to turn over information on warranty claims and accidents involving serious injury, Mr. Shea said at the Society of Automotive Engineers Government/Industry Meeting May 15.
“We have a definition for claims,” he said. “It's not a verbal complaint, but a written demand received by the tire manufacturer which provides sufficient information to establish its legitimacy.”
Also, NHTSA must define what it means by “serious injury,” so manufacturers aren't held criminally liable for withholding accident information.
“There's a definition in the criminal penalties provision of the TREAD Act that may be sufficient,” he said.
Jackson Rice, a former NHTSA official who now is a Washington lawyer with Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. among his clients, said the TREAD Act was a congressional overreaction.
“There was a need to water the lawn, so they got out the fire hose,” Mr. Rice said at the SAE meeting.