NADA testifies at House hearing on auto safety

NADA testifies at House hearing on auto safety

In a House subcommittee hearing on improving vehicle safety, NADA President Peter Welch said the association wants to boost the recall completion rate from its current 75 percent. But NADA doesnêt support the grounding of all vehicles under open recall.

–Dealers support a 100 percent recall completion rate,” Welch told the committee. –In general, Congress should focus on strategies that boost recall completion rates, while avoiding policies that indiscriminately ground recalled vehicles that may not result in them actually getting fixed.” Grounding all rental and used cars under recall would also ground vehicles for minor compliance matters, such as a wrong phone number in the ownerês manual, he said.

Welch urged Congress to direct NHTSA to upgrade its recall database so dealerships could automatically do a daily check of which used vehicles in their inventory are under recall. The current system is designed for single vehicle lookups by a consumer, not for commercial use.

The two main reasons why recall rates are not higher are back-ordered repair parts and recall notices that are disregarded by consumers, Welch said. Itês not unusual for a dealer to wait 60 days or more for a back-ordered recall repair part and sometimes as much as a year.

NADA also supports these measures in a proposal drafted by House subcommittee staff:

« Permit email and other communication channels to notify vehicle owners of recalls. Federal telemarketing and other restrictions should not apply to communications limited solely to the recall.

« Require state motor vehicle agencies to provide recall notifications at registration renewal and with state and local emissions and safety inspections.

« Extend recalls from 10 to 15 years.

Democrats were unhappy with the bill drafted by GOP staff members, saying it wouldnêt improve efficiency or awareness of recalls and complaining that it doesnêt boost NHTSAês budget. NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind has told the committee itês hard for his agency to keep unsafe vehicles off the road without an increase in budget.

Another point of contention was the link the bill makes between emissions requirements and safety features. –The bill would give automakers a break from health-based carbon emissions standards, in exchange for adding safety features that are readily available,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), according to the Detroit News.

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