The American Car Rental Association has issued a legislation proposal for changing the current safety recall rules to a two-tiered system that would categorize each recall by the nature of the defect and the potential for harm. The position paper was released today at the 2011 Car Rental Show in Las Vegas.
Currently, auto manufacturers are required by Federal law to provide notice to vehicle owners when the manufacturer determines that a vehicle contains a defect which relates to vehicle safety, or fails to conform to an applicable motor vehicle safety standard. The notices include "an evaluation of the risk to motor vehicle safety reasonably related to the defect or noncompliance" and a statement of the precautions, if any, that owners should take to reduce the chance that the defect or noncompliance will cause a malfunction to occur.
However, Federal law does not require the manufacturer to advise whether the vehicle should continue to be operated until the defect or noncompliance is remedied, according to the ACRA. In addition, current rules prohibit a dealer from selling a new vehicle subject to a recall but do not prohibit the sale of used vehicles.
Under the ACRA's proposal for a two-tiered rule system, safety recalls would lead to required delivery of Safety Recall Grounding Bulletins (RGB) and Manufacturer Product Information Bulletins (PIB) to vehicle owners and posting on the National Highway Traffic Safety Association's website for recalls.
The safety RGB bulletins would require the owner or lessee of any vehicle (commercial use or private) to immediately cease operation of the vehicle and park or have the vehicle towed, according to the ACRA. The bulletins would be issued when the manufacturer and/or NHTSA believe continued operation of the vehicle pending completion of the recall remedy would pose a significant risk to public safety.
A manufacturer PIB notice would permit a vehicle to be operated pending completion of the recall remedy so long as the remedy was completed within an acceptable period of time as determined by the manufacturer and NHTSA, according to the ACRA. A PIB would also specify whether remedial measures should be implemented pending completion of the recall remedy as a condition of the continued operation of the vehicle.