The RV Industry Association (RVIA) held its 4th annual National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) seminar at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind., Wednesday (May 1).
While overall attendance was down from last year’s event, perhaps due to the inclement weather, several OEM and suppliers companies were well represented and included personnel in purchasing, quality control and engineering, manufacturing operations and RV design, and safety engineers.
Nicole Tranter, who works in purchasing at Forest River Inc., noted, “It keeps us informed as to what is going on. It helps strengthen our team. Having all the management staff knowing what’s going on so we can support each other in different situations that come up is important.”
According to Thor Industries Inc.’s David Mihalick, co-organizer and presenter for the annual event, the seminar is put on to help frontline professionals understand current and upcoming NHTSA regulations and pinpoint safety issues to help members remain compliant, avoid noncompliance recalls and fines, and ultimately help the RV industry improve consumer safety overall.
“We had a little different format this year where we have breakouts to get a little more specific,” said Mihalick. “These breakout sessions focus on specific topics so people can attend what they are interested in instead of sitting through portions of the seminar that they don’t know anything about. We have a pretty good lineup. We are going to try this format out this year, see how it goes and keep building on it.”
The six breakout sessions included three, two-part presentations over the morning and afternoon. Sessions one and two covered a review of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and an interactive discussion on how those issues are identified and elevated into a safety committee. After lunch, sessions three and four covered the functions of how a safety committee should be run when approaching a recall investigation and identification processes therein. Sessions five and six, held at the end of the day, included how a recall campaign is executed and further discussions on recall investigations and identification practices.
Mihalick said it was of note that keynote speaker Bruce York, program manager for the NHTSA, is an expert on the recall process.
“This is very important to educate the industry, and really educate a lot of the suppliers that need help in this area,” he said. “They sometimes don’t have resources because their companies are not big enough. I just want to make sure everybody’s doing everything right and at the end of the day making a safe product.”
The day-long event included lunch and was complimentary to all RVIA members. Winnebago Industries Inc., Forest River Inc., Thor Industries Inc., Dometic Corp., Lippert Components Inc., Dave Carter & Associates, Dexter Axle Co. and Flexsteel Industries Inc. sponsored this year’s event.