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TREAD Act gives NHTSA power to accelerate defect remedies

Order Reprints

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has adopted a regulation giving it authority to accelerate programs designed to remedy a defect related to motor vehicle safety.

Under the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation (TREAD) Act,

motor vehicle and motor vehicle equipment manufacturers, including tiremakers, are required to do two things in the event they discover a defect related to motor vehicle safety:

* provide notification of the defect to owners, purchasers, and dealers of the affected vehicle or equipment item.

* remedy the defect without charge.

A "defect" is defined as anything that is related to motor vehicle safety or does not comply with an applicable federal motor vehicle safety standard.

Under today's new ruling, motor vehicle and motor vehicle equipment manufacturers will be required to accelerate their programs to remedy a defect related to motor vehicle safety or a

noncompliance with a federal motor vehicle safety standard "if directed to do so by NHTSA."

The agency will impose this requirement if it

determines that the manufacturer's remedy program is not likely to be capable of completion within a reasonable time and finds one or both of the following:

* that there is a risk of serious injury or death if the remedy program is not

accelerated;

* that acceleration of the remedy program can be reasonably achieved by expanding the sources of replacement parts, expanding the number of authorized repair facilities.

The effective date of the final rule is Jan. 6, 2003. Petitions for reconsideration of the final rule must be received no later than Jan. 21, 2003.

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