Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) officials are hopeful the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will exempt smaller manufacturers from a wave of new mandated paperwork requiring the reporting of safety-related statistics.
The new rules go into effect Aug. 1.
“It is still a major issue for companies,” said Bruce Hopkins, RVIA vice president of standards and education. “I am feeling better that some of the smaller companies aren’t going to have to get into this activity.”
Manufacturers of more than 500 vehicles annually will be required to report such items as deaths and injuries, property damage, warranty claims and consumer complaints involving their units during the last three years and then report quarterly after that. Additionally, manufacturers are to report the number of vehicles they manufacturer by make, model and model year.
Estimates are, Hopkins said, that accumulating the information and keeping it up to date could cost individual companies as much as $100,000 annually.
The new rules, ordered by Congress after several dozen deaths caused by defects in Firestone Wilderness AT tires, apply to all manufacturers of vehicles, motorcycles and towable trailers.
Hopkins coordinated the second RVIA-sponsored seminar on the Transpiration Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act (TREAD) Jan. 9 at Century Center in South Bend, Ind. the seminar drew 140 participants.
Even though that seminar and another in Washington, D.C. in November drew more than 250 people, Hopkins said “a lot of companies aren’t paying attention.”
He said it is likely the NHTSA will count towables and motorhomes as different types of products or change the 500-unit reporting threshold to a higher number. “A decision on changing the number could come within a matter of weeks,” Hopkins said. “If they are going to do it, they want to do it quickly.”
RVIA General Counsel Craig Kirby said that if the threshold is raised to 5,000, as the RVIA has requested, 60% of motorhomes and 80% of towables would still be covered by the law.
“There are a lot of costs involved,” Kirby said. “And I don’t think the data is going to warrant the extra cost for the smaller manufacturer.”