The U.S. Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation added some tire and auto safety amendments to the latest highway safety reauthorization bill, but the exact details of what these amendments contain remain sketchy at best.
The main source of information on the amendments is a press release from the consumer group Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. The release was issued June 26, the day the committee passed its version of the Surface Transportation Safety Reauthorization Act of 2003.
According to that release, the provisions ``address a number of life-and-death issues,'' including ``additional requirements for tire safety'' and language ``afford(ing) consumers added reimbursement protection for costs associated with defective tires.''
Language on vehicle rollover, occupant ejection and improving the safety of 15-passenger vans was also part of the bill, according to Advocates. Press information on the Senate Commerce Web site contained details of various amendments to the legislation, but none relating to vehicles or tires. Congress was out of session the week of June 30, and calls to Senate Commerce staff persons were not returned.
``We're still trying to figure out what this means,'' said a spokesman for the Rubber Manufacturers Association. ``The language supplied by Advocates is rather vague, and we want to see the legislative language before we comment on it.''
Four Senate committees have jurisdiction over various sections of the Surface Transportation Safety Reauthorization Act, the RMA spokesman noted, and the bill is a two-year effort that won't have to pass until next year.