U.S. Wants Early Data on Auto Defects
U.S. regulators want the auto and tire industries to regularly report data on fatalities, injury and damage claims, and consumer complaints to flag potential defects and prevent another safety problem like the one involving Firestone tires, according to a Dec. 28 article by Reuters. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed long-awaited regulations over the week of Dec. 17, 2001, under a law passed in 2000 in response to Firestone tire tread separations and rollover crashes linked to 271 deaths and hundreds of injuries. One Transportation Department official noted that the auto and tire industries have never been held to such a rigorous reporting standard. Currently, companies identify de-fects and then report information on deaths, injuries, or claims to the government, which determines the scope of any investigation. The proposed regulations would make the industries report a wide range of information as part of an early warning initiative. The auto and tire industries say they favor requirements that boost auto safety, but are wary of wholesale data distribution that might not help safety or might be misinterpreted.