Serves the Commercial Small Fleet Market of 10 – 50 Vehicles

Automakers Concerned About Safety Data Requirement

March 28, 2003

An early-warning system designed to spot vehicle defects before injuries and deaths occur is causing concern among major automakers, who fear it will give rivals a glimpse at how their vehicles work, according to the Detroit Free Press.Starting in late August, automakers will have to turn over to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSa) data on accidents, safety complaints and warranty claims. They must begin compiling the information next month.Congress passed the new requirement following the 2000 recall of millions of Firestone tires. The information the government collects will be part of a huge early-warning database called ARTEMIS or Advanced Retrieval (Tires, Equipment, Motor Vehicles) Information System. The administration hopes the database will give early hints about vehicle hazards and perhaps prevent another debacle like the tire recall, according to the Free Press.Once it sifts through the data, NHTSA will put it on a Web site consumers will be able to access. The automakers, however, are afraid the data meant to help protect lives could give rivals a peek at how specific vehicle systems are designed, the Free Presds said. They also worry that consumers will make the wrong assumptions about certain documents, according to the Free Press.
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