H.R. 6051 (112th): Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2012

112th Congress, 2011–2013. Text as of Jun 28, 2012 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

I

112th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 6051

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

June 28, 2012

introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce

A BILL

To amend certain provisions of title 49, United States Code, relating to motor vehicle safety, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2012.

2.

Permit reminder system for non-use of safety belts

(a)

In general

Chapter 301 of title 49, United States Code, is amended—

(1)

in section 30122, by striking subsection (d); and

(2)

by amending section 30124 to read as follows:

30124.

Nonuse of safety belts

A motor vehicle safety standard prescribed under this chapter may not require a manufacturer to comply with the standard by using a safety belt interlock designed to prevent starting or operating a motor vehicle if an occupant is not using a safety belt.

.

(b)

Conforming amendment

The analysis for chapter 301 of title 49, United States Code, is amended by striking the item relating to section 30124 and inserting the following:

30124. Nonuse of safety belts.

.

3.

Odometer requirements

(a)

Definition

Section 32702(5) of title 49, United States Code, is amended by inserting or system of components after instrument.

(b)

Electronic disclosures of odometer information

Section 32705 of title 49, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

(g)

Electronic disclosures

Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2012, in carrying out this section, the Secretary shall prescribe regulations permitting any written disclosures or notices and related matters to be provided electronically.

.

4.

Increased penalties and damages for odometer fraud

Chapter 327 of title 49, United States Code, is amended—

(1)

in section 32709(a)(1)—

(A)

by striking $2,000 and inserting $10,000; and

(B)

by striking $100,000 and inserting $1,000,000; and

(2)

in section 32710(a), by striking $1,500 and inserting $10,000.

5.

Extend prohibitions on importing noncompliant vehicles and equipment to defective vehicles and equipment

Section 30112 of title 49, United States Code, is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a), by adding at the end the following:

(3)

Except as provided in this section, section 30114, subsections (i) and (j) of section 30120, and subchapter III, a person may not sell, offer for sale, introduce or deliver for introduction in interstate commerce, or import into the United States any motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment if the vehicle or equipment contains a defect related to motor vehicle safety about which notice was given under section 30118(c) or an order was issued under section 30118(b). Nothing in this paragraph may be construed to prohibit the importation of a new motor vehicle that receives a required recall remedy before being sold to a consumer in the United States.

; and

(2)

in subsection (b)(2)—

(A)

in subparagraph (A), by striking or at the end;

(B)

in subparagraph (B), by adding or at the end; and

(C)

by adding at the end the following:

(C)

having no reason to know, despite exercising reasonable care, that a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment contains a defect related to motor vehicle safety about which notice was given under section 30118(c) or an order was issued under section 30118(b);

.

6.

Conditions on importation of vehicles and equipment

Chapter 301 of title 49, United States Code, is amended—

(1)

in the chapter analysis, by striking the item relating to section 30164 and inserting the following:

30164. Service of process; conditions on importation of vehicles and equipment.

;

and
(2)

in section 30164—

(A)

in the section heading, by adding ; conditions on importation of vehicles and equipment at the end; and

(B)

by adding at the end the following:

(c)

Identifying information

A manufacturer (including an importer) offering a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment for import shall provide, upon request, such information that is necessary to identify and track the products as the Secretary, by rule, may specify, including—

(1)

the product by name and the manufacturer’s address; and

(2)

each retailer or distributor to which the manufacturer directly supplied motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment over which the Secretary has jurisdiction under this chapter.

(d)

Regulations on the import of a motor vehicle

The Secretary may issue regulations that—

(1)

condition the import of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment on the manufacturer’s compliance with—

(A)

the requirements under this section;

(B)

paragraph (1) or (3) of section 30112(a) with respect to such motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment;

(C)

the provision of reports and records required to be maintained with respect to such motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment under this chapter;

(D)

a request for inspection of premises, vehicle, or equipment under section 30166;

(E)

an order or voluntary agreement to remedy such vehicle or equipment; or

(F)

any rules implementing the requirements described in this subsection;

(2)

provide an opportunity for the manufacturer to present information before the Secretary’s determination as to whether the manufacturer’s imports should be restricted; and

(3)

establish a process by which a manufacturer may petition for reinstatement of its ability to import motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment.

(e)

Exception

The requirements of subsections (c) and (d) shall not apply to original manufacturers (or wholly owned subsidiaries) of motor vehicles that, prior to the date of enactment of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2012

(1)

have imported motor vehicles into the United States that are certified to comply with all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards;

(2)

have submitted to the Secretary appropriate manufacturer identification information under part 566 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations; and

(3)

if applicable, have identified a current agent for service of process in accordance with part 551 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations.

(f)

Rulemaking

In issuing regulations under this section, the Secretary shall seek to reduce duplicative requirements by coordinating with the Department of Homeland Security.

.

7.

Port inspections; samples for examination or testing

Section 30166(c) of title 49, United States Code, is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (2), by striking and at the end;

(2)

in paragraph (3)—

(A)

in subparagraph (A), by inserting (including at United States ports of entry) after held for introduction in interstate commerce; and

(B)

in subparagraph (D), by striking the period at the end and inserting a semicolon; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(4)

shall enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Secretary of Homeland Security for inspections and sampling of motor vehicle equipment being offered for import to determine compliance with this chapter or a regulation or order issued under this chapter.

.

8.

Public availability of recall information

(a)

Vehicle recall information

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall require that the motor vehicle safety recall information—

(1)

be available to the public on the Internet;

(2)

be searchable by vehicle make and model and vehicle identification number;

(3)

be in a format that preserves consumer privacy; and

(4)

includes information about each recall that has not been completed for each vehicle.

(b)

Rulemaking

The Secretary of Transportation may initiate a rulemaking proceeding to require each manufacturer to provide the information described in subsection (a), with respect to that manufacturer’s motor vehicles, on a publicly accessible Internet Web site. Any rules promulgated under this subsection—

(1)

shall limit the information that must be made available under this section to include only those recalls issued not more than 15 years prior to the date of enactment of this Act;

(2)

may require information under paragraph (1) to be provided to a dealer or an owner of a vehicle at no charge; and

(3)

shall permit a manufacturer a reasonable period of time after receiving information from a dealer with respect to a vehicle to update the information about the vehicle on the publicly accessible Internet Web site.

(c)

Promotion of availability of recall information

The Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the heads of other relevant agencies, shall promote consumer awareness of the information made available to the public pursuant to this section.

9.

Promotion of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hotline for manufacturer, dealer, and mechanic personnel

The Secretary of Transportation shall publicize the means for contacting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in a manner that target mechanics, passenger motor vehicle dealership personnel, and manufacturer personnel.

10.

Public availability of communications with dealers

Section 30166(f) of title 49, United States Code, is amended—

(1)

by striking A manufacturer shall give the Secretary of Transportation and inserting the following:

(1)

In general

A manufacturer shall give the Secretary of Transportation, and the Secretary shall make available on a publicly accessible Internet Web site,

; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following:

(2)

Index

Communications required to be submitted to the Secretary under this subsection shall be accompanied by an index to each communication, that—

(A)

identifies the make, model, and model year of the affected vehicles;

(B)

includes a concise summary of the subject matter of the communication; and

(C)

shall be made available by the Secretary to the public on the Internet in a searchable format.

.

11.

Passenger motor vehicle information program

(a)

Definition

Section 32301 of title 49, United States Code, is amended—

(1)

by redesignating paragraphs (1) and (2) as paragraphs (2) and (3), respectively;

(2)

by inserting before paragraph (2), as redesignated, the following:

(1)

crash avoidance means preventing or mitigating a crash;

; and

(3)

in paragraph (2), as redesignated, by striking the period at the end and inserting ; and.

(b)

Information included

Section 32302(a) of title 49, United States Code, is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (2), by inserting , crash avoidance, and any other areas the Secretary determines will improve the safety of passenger motor vehicles after crashworthiness; and

(2)

by striking paragraph (4).

12.

Promotion of vehicle defect reporting

Section 32302 of title 49, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

(d)

Motor vehicle defect reporting information

(1)

Rulemaking required

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2012, the Secretary shall prescribe regulations that require passenger motor vehicle manufacturers—

(A)

to affix, in the glove compartment or in another readily accessible location on the vehicle, a sticker, decal, or other device that provides, in simple and understandable language, information about how to submit a safety-related motor vehicle defect complaint to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration;

(B)

to prominently print the information described in subparagraph (A) within the owner’s manual; and

(C)

to not place such information on the label required under section 3 of the Automobile Information Disclosure Act (15 U.S.C. 1232).

(2)

Application

The requirements under paragraph (1) shall apply to passenger motor vehicles manufactured in any model year beginning more than 1 year after the date on which a final rule is published under paragraph (1).

.

13.

Study of crash data collection

(a)

In general

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall submit a report to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives regarding the quality of data collected through the National Automotive Sampling System, including the Special Crash Investigations Program.

(b)

Review

The Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (referred to in this section as the Administration) shall conduct a comprehensive review of the data elements collected from each crash to determine if additional data should be collected. The review under this subsection shall include input from interested parties, including suppliers, automakers, safety advocates, the medical community, and research organizations.

(c)

Contents

The report issues under this section shall include—

(1)

the analysis and conclusions the Administration can reach from the amount of motor vehicle crash data collected in a given year;

(2)

the additional analysis and conclusions the Administration could reach if more crash investigations were conducted each year;

(3)

the number of investigations per year that would allow for optimal data analysis and crash information;

(4)

the results of the comprehensive review conducted pursuant to subsection (b);

(5)

the incremental costs of collecting and analyzing additional data, as well as data from additional crashes;

(6)

the potential for obtaining private funding for all or a portion of the costs under paragraph (5);

(7)

the potential for recovering any additional costs from high volume users of the data, while continuing to make the data available to the general public free of charge;

(8)

the advantages or disadvantages of expanding collection of non-crash data instead of crash data;

(9)

recommendations for improvements to the Administration’s data collection program; and

(10)

the resources needed by the Administration to implement such recommendations.

14.

Update means of providing notification; improving efficacy of recalls

(a)

Update of means of providing notification

Section 30119(d) of title 49, United States Code, is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1), by striking by first class mail and inserting in the manner prescribed by the Secretary, by regulation;

(2)

in paragraph (2)—

(A)

by striking (except a tire) shall be sent by first class mail and inserting shall be sent in the manner prescribed by the Secretary, by regulation; and

(B)

by striking the second sentence;

(3)

in paragraph (3)—

(A)

by striking the first sentence;

(B)

by inserting to the notification required under paragraphs (1) and (2) after addition; and

(C)

by inserting by the manufacturer after given; and

(4)

in paragraph (4), by striking by certified mail or quicker means if available and inserting in the manner prescribed by the Secretary, by regulation.

(b)

Improving efficacy of recalls

Section 30119(e) of title 49, United States Code, is amended—

(1)

in the subsection heading, by striking Second and inserting Additional;

(2)

by striking If the Secretary and inserting the following:

(1)

Second notification

If the Secretary

; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(2)

Additional notifications

If the Secretary determines, after taking into account the severity of the defect or noncompliance, that the second notification by a manufacturer does not result in an adequate number of motor vehicles or items of replacement equipment being returned for remedy, the Secretary may order the manufacturer—

(A)
(i)

to send additional notifications in the manner prescribed by the Secretary, by regulation; or

(ii)

to take additional steps to locate and notify each person registered under State law as the owner or lessee or the most recent purchaser or lessee, as appropriate; and

(B)

to emphasize the magnitude of the safety risk caused by the defect or noncompliance in such notification.

.

15.

Expanding choices of remedy available to manufacturers of replacement equipment

Section 30120 of title 49, United States Code, is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a)(1), by amending subparagraph (B) to read as follows:

(B)

if replacement equipment, by repairing the equipment, replacing the equipment with identical or reasonably equivalent equipment, or by refunding the purchase price.

;

(2)

in the heading of subsection (i), by adding of New Vehicles or Equipment at the end; and

(3)

in the heading of subsection (j), by striking Replaced and inserting Replacement.

16.

Recall obligations and bankruptcy of manufacturer

(a)

In general

Chapter 301 of title 49, United States Code, is amended by inserting the following after section 30120:

30120A.

Recall obligations and bankruptcy of a manufacturer

A manufacturer’s filing of a petition in bankruptcy under chapter 11 of title 11, does not negate the manufacturer’s duty to comply with section 30112 or sections 30115 through 30120 of this title. In any bankruptcy proceeding, the manufacturer’s obligations under such sections shall be treated as a claim of the United States Government against such manufacturer, subject to subchapter II of chapter 37 of title 31, United States Code, and given priority pursuant to section 3713(a)(1)(A) of such chapter, notwithstanding section 3713(a)(2), to ensure that consumers are adequately protected from any safety defect or noncompliance determined to exist in the manufacturer’s products. This section shall apply equally to actions of a manufacturer taken before or after the filing of a petition in bankruptcy.

.

(b)

Conforming amendment

The chapter analysis of chapter 301 of title 49, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 30120 the following:

30120A. Recall obligations and bankruptcy of a manufacturer.

.

17.

Repeal of insurance reports and information provision

Chapter 331 of title 49, United States Code, is amended—

(1)

in the chapter analysis, by striking the item relating to section 33112; and

(2)

by striking section 33112.

18.

Monroney sticker to permit additional safety rating categories

Section 3(g)(2) of the Automobile Information Disclosure Act (15 U.S.C. 1232(g)(2)), is amended by inserting safety rating categories that may include after refers to.

19.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration electronics, software, and engineering expertise

(a)

Council for vehicle electronics, vehicle software, and emerging technologies

(1)

In general

The Secretary of Transportation shall establish, within the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a Council for Vehicle Electronics, Vehicle Software, and Emerging Technologies (referred to in this section as the Council) to build, integrate, and aggregate the Administration’s expertise in passenger motor vehicle electronics and other new and emerging technologies.

(2)

Implementation of roadmap

The Council shall research the inclusion of emerging lightweight plastic and composite technologies in motor vehicles to increase fuel efficiency, lower emissions, meet fuel economy standards, and enhance passenger motor vehicle safety through continued utilization of the Administration’s Plastic and Composite Intensive Vehicle Safety Roadmap (Report No. DOT HS 810 863).

(3)

Intra-agency coordination

The Council shall coordinate with all components of the Administration responsible for vehicle safety, including research and development, rulemaking, and defects investigation.

(b)

Honors recruitment program

(1)

Establishment

The Secretary of Transportation shall establish, within the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an honors program for engineering students, computer science students, and other students interested in vehicle safety that will enable such students to train with engineers and other safety officials for a career in vehicle safety.

(2)

Stipend

The Secretary of Transportation is authorized to provide a stipend to any student during the student’s participation in the program established pursuant to paragraph (1).

(c)

Assessment

The Council, in consultation with affected stakeholders, shall periodically assess the implications of emerging safety technologies in passenger motor vehicles, including the effect of such technologies on consumers, product availability, and cost.

20.

Electronic systems performance

(a)

In general

Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall complete an examination of the need for safety standards with regard to electronic systems in passenger motor vehicles. In conducting this examination, the Secretary of Transportation shall—

(1)

consider the electronic components, the interaction of electronic components, the security needs for those electronic systems to prevent unauthorized access, and the effect of surrounding environments on the electronic systems; and

(2)

allow for public comment.

(b)

Report

Upon completion of the examination under subsection (a), the Secretary of Transportation shall submit a report on the highest priority areas for safety with regard to the electronic systems to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives.

21.

Child safety seats

(a)

Side impact crashes

Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall issue a final rule amending Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard Number 213 to improve the protection of children seated in child restraint systems during side impact crashes.

(b)

Frontal impact test parameters

(1)

Commencement

Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall commence a rulemaking proceeding to amend the standard seat assembly specifications under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard Number 213 to better simulate a single representative motor vehicle rear seat.

(2)

Final rule

Not later than 4 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall issue a final rule pursuant to paragraph (1).

22.

Child restraint anchorage systems

(a)

Initiation of rulemaking proceeding

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall initiate a rulemaking proceeding to amend Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard Number 225 (relating to child restraint anchorage systems) to improve the ease of use for lower anchorages and tethers in all rear seat seating positions if such anchorages and tethers are feasible.

(b)

Final rule

(1)

In general

Except as provided under paragraph (2) and section 24, the Secretary of Transportation shall issue a final rule under subsection (a) not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act.

(2)

Report

If the Secretary of Transportation determines that an amendment to the standard referred to in subsection (a) does not meet the requirements and considerations set forth in subsections (a) and (b) of section 30111 of title 49, United States Code, the Secretary of Transportation shall submit a report describing the reasons for not prescribing such a standard to—

(A)

the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate; and

(B)

the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives.

23.

Rear seat belt reminders

(a)

Initiation of rulemaking proceeding

Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall initiate a rulemaking proceeding to amend Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard Number 208 (relating to occupant crash protection) to provide a safety belt use warning system for designated seating positions in the rear seat.

(b)

Final rule

(1)

In general

Except as provided under paragraph (2) and section 24, the Secretary of Transportation shall issue a final rule under subsection (a) not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act.

(2)

Report

If the Secretary of Transportation determines that an amendment to the standard referred to in subsection (a) does not meet the requirements and considerations set forth in subsections (a) and (b) of section 30111 of title 49, United States Code, the Secretary of Transportation shall submit a report describing the reasons for not prescribing such a standard to—

(A)

the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate; and

(B)

the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives.

24.

New deadline

If the Secretary of Transportation determines that any deadline for issuing a final rule under this Act cannot be met, the Secretary of Transportation shall—

(1)

provide the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives with an explanation for why such deadline cannot be met; and

(2)

establish a new deadline for that rule.