Automakers and Government Reach Safety Agreement
HandelontheLaw.com Staff Writer
In an historic accomplishment of collaboration and concern for consumers, sixteen major U. S. automakers and the federal government have reached an accord to advance auto industry safety and lay the groundwork for future partnership.
The alliance began in December 2015 between the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a Who’s Who of American automobile manufacturers, including General Motors Company, Ford Motor Company, Honda Motors Company, Toyota Motor Corporation, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Daimler AG, BMW AG, Nissan Motor Company and Hyundai Motor Company. During the past month, team members have exchanged principles for collaborative efforts to enhance auto and traffic safety, based on their extensive expertise and mutual concern for the public. The cooperative combination of their suggested principles and open communication shaped the team’s plan, finalized as of January 11, 2016.
The voluntary agreement was formally unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show on January 15, 2016 via a mutual release composed by the NHTSA and the sixteen auto manufacturers. A video of the announcement can be accessed on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBxv37n02nw
The agreement is modeled on the U. S. aviation industry’s relationship with government regulators: a model of cooperation and transparency that has resulted in significantly increased safety for airline passengers and lighter punishments for honest errors.
According to NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind, the time has come for partnership and transparency between the government and American automakers. The considerable time required to pass new regulations makes those same regulations outdated when finally established and dealing with the auto industry’s continuous technological advances. Consequently, Rosekind welcomes the accord. Nevertheless, Rosekind states that the NHTSA will still aggressively pursue and fine automakers who violate the agency’s regulations.
While automakers and the government laud the agreement, it has its detractors. Some auto safety advocates believe auto industry forged this voluntary agreement in order to argue that tougher, necessary requirements are needless. Furthermore, they argue that the voluntary agreement is not enforceable as would be NHTSA regulations.
By Kathy Catanzarite
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