WASHINGTON (June 22, 2012) — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is recommending states institute periodic safety inspections of all registered vehicles in their state to maximize vehicle safety, according to amendments to highway safety program guidelines the agency released this week.
The NHTSA amendments, published in the June 20 Federal Register, are part of an ongoing federal mandate for the agency to update its highway safety program guidelines to provide states with information on effective program content. To provide such guidelines is a basic part of the agency's charter.
According to the amended NHTSA guideline, each state should have a safety inspection program to reduce the number of vehicles with existing or potential conditions that lead to vehicle crashes.
At a minimum, every state should require that every vehicle registered within its borders be inspected for safety at the time of initial registration and periodically thereafter, the amended guideline said.
Inspections should be carried out by personnel trained to conduct such inspections and certified by the state, the proposal said. It should cover all systems, subsystems and components related to safe vehicle performance, it said.
Each inspection station should maintain records on every vehicle it inspects, covering class of vehicle, date of inspection, make and model year, vehicle identification number, defects by category, odometer reading and the identity of the inspector, the guideline said. The state should publish summaries of records from all inspection stations at least annually, it said, and also provide NHTSA with summaries of periodic evaluations of the inspection program.
Along with the amended guideline on inspection programs, the NHTSA proposal includes amended guidelines on codes and laws; motor vehicle registration; management of highway incidents including wreckage, spillage and debris; and motor vehicle crash investigation and incident reporting. It also includes a new guideline on older driver safety.
July 20 is the deadline for comments on the proposed guidelines to the NHTSA docket. Besides the Federal Register, the text of the document can be found at www.TakingThe Hill.com , the legislative website of the Automotive Service Association, a longtime advocate of state vehicle safety inspection programs.