July 15, 2019
Docket Management Facility
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140 Washington, DC 20590
Submitted electronically via www.regulations.gov
RE: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; Record Retention Requirement; Docket
The Center for Auto Safety (Center) appreciates the opportunity to comment on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) extending the time manufacturers must retain records related to safety defects pursuant to 49 CFR Part 576. As the Center has maintained for two decades, the current requirement that manufacturers only retain such records for five years is woefully inadequate and outdated. Accordingly, the agency’s current proposal to extend the record retention period does only the bare minimum to improve NHTSA’s enforcement efforts, and at a time of record recalls, deaths, and injuries on our roads, the bare minimum is not good enough.
The Center, founded in 1970 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a membership-driven non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy. Records submitted by manufacturers to inform NHTSA defect investigations play a critical role in the agency’s enforcement authority under the Safety Act and have resulted in countless recalls that removed dangers from US roads. The Center has long worked to ensure that such information, when submitted to the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) pursuant to a defect investigation or otherwise, is accurate and complete. Unfortunately, the proposed 10-year period is insufficient to ensure that important information related to safety defects is preserved for review by NHTSA investigators.