RVIA hosts third annual NHTSA training session

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) held its third annual National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) seminar on Tuesday (May 1) in Elkhart, Ind.

The full-day event, which included lunch, was well attended with more than 200 RV industry OEMs and supplier representatives filling the tables at the Center Six One Five facility on County Road 15.

The session is designed to provide an in-depth discussion on how OEMs and RV industry management can act and comply with safety issues in a fashion that complements NHTSA rules and regulations. It was made possible through the sponsorship of Thor Industries Inc., Forest River Inc., Winnebago Industries Inc., Lippert Components Inc., and Dometic Corp.

“We are here today to present to our members the details of NHTSA’s investigation process review as well as how to identify and act on vehicular safety issues,” said Kyle Correa-Brady, RVIA staff attorney. “We have Bruce York here today of NHTSA to share the new investigation process review as well.”

Correa-Brady said the presenters on the dais was to share the practical aspects of how to create a safety committee and other hands-on action companies can take to focus on safety. He noted that the 200-plus in attendance included many walk-ins this year and ranged from upper management to safety officers and quality control staff.

NHTSA’s Bruce York (L) with RVIA’s Kyle Correa-Brady

Officials noted that while every company is different, the seminar was appropriate for anyone that touches on safety issues inside their firm.

The seminar is designed to help educate RV manufacturers and suppliers on the regulations they are required to meet as well as how NHTSA conducts investigations at the Office of Defects and Investigation, officials said, noting that attendees also were updated on a recent reorganization at NHTSA that might impact the RV industry.

It was mentioned that NHTSA would not be focusing on specific issues this year, such as tires or slideout safety, but more on how to identify and act on any safety issue and create a process to face the problem organizationally.

It was also noted that the industry’s sales increases typically will mean more warranty claims and more potential for problems. As such, there’s seen a significant uptick in the number of recalls coming through the system – but that’s not necessarily a negative, officials said. It signifies that manufacturers are starting to identify issues, addressing them and taking care of the consumer, a proactive approach that is far better than reacting to an issue after an accident or injury.

The RVIA member-only event also addressed collecting, storing or processing information necessary to conduct a recall.