For decades the Center for Auto Safety has argued current requirements which require manufacturers only retain records related to safety defects for five years is woefully inadequate and outdated. NHTSA has proposed to extend the record retention period for 10 years – the minimum required by Congress. What’s more, even this weak proposal is three years overdue.
By proposing to require the preservation of less information than is necessary for robust enforcement of federal auto safety laws and regulations, NHTSA once again places the considerations of multi-billion-dollar corporations over the safety of the motoring public. Specifically, 44% of NHTSA’s current investigations, involve vehicles or equipment that began production more than 10 years ago. If the proposed limitation is promulgated the incentive for manufacturers to “run out the clock” on reporting only increases.
In our comment, the Center calls on NHTSA to extend the record retention period to a minimum of twenty years to ensure that the agency is able to effectively evaluate safety defects, whether they are in new or older vehicles, in order to properly support the agency’s recall and enforcement authority, and to help remove these dangers from America’s roads.