WASHINGTON — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said this week data collected from its defect warning system will be made public sometime this year.
The agency agreed to keep warranty claims and consumer complaints confidential after automakers claimed access to the data would allow competitors to learn proprietary information about their vehicles. However, NHTSA dismissed manufacturers’ attempts to limit some information, such as the states in which defect-related deaths are occurring.
NHTSA’s defect warning system, implemented after the Firestone tire recall in 2000, includes warnings for any part of a vehicle, including tires. The law requires automakers, auto suppliers and child seat manufacturers to supply data on deaths, injuries, consumer complaints, warranty claims and other information. The information is reviewed internally. According to NHTSA, 334 companies have reported data since the system started on Dec. 1, 2003.
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