Two major components of the TREAD Act are 1) the requirement of manufacturers to report to NHTSA when they conduct a safety recall or other safety-related campaign, and 2) the need to report information related to defects, especially in cases of injury or death related to the use of products (also referred to as “early warning reporting”(EWR)).
All notices, bulletins, customer satisfaction campaigns, consumer advisories, and other communications must be submitted, regardless of the number of products produced. In the automotive world, these are typically referred to as Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs). So whether you produce one product, or one thousand, if a TSB is created it must be submitted to NHTSA.
All manufacturers must submit quarterly reports with regard to any incident involving a death. So again, no matter the number of products your company makes, if there is a death alleged due to a failure of or during use of the product, it must be reported.
If you are a manufacturer of 5,000 or more trailers annually, you must also submit quarterly reports with regard to the following categories:
1. Production information
2. Death and injury claims
3. Property damage
4. Consumer complaints
5. Warranty claims
6. Field reports
Listed below is the quarterly reporting schedule, with each quarter being due within 60 days from the beginning of the next quarter. For example, Quarter 1 data for 2015 was due on June 1, 2015.
- Quarter 1: January 1 – March 31
- Quarter 2: April 1 – June 30
- Quarter 3: July 1 – September 30
- Quarter 4: October 1 – December 31
NHTSA civil penalties have steadily risen since 2014. The chart displayed in Figure 1 shows the increasing trend in civil penalties issued by NHTSA for failure to conduct safety recalls and/or properly report safety-related information. Paying civil penalties not only hurts a company’s overall budget and reputation, but could lead to criminal penalties as well as decreased sales from social media implications.
For more information on civil penalties, visit www.nhtsa.gov/Laws+&+Regulations/Civil+Penalty+Settlement+Amounts.
Manufacturers collect a large amount of information regarding their products, so determining what is required for reporting can seem like a daunting task. There are a few steps that can get your company headed in the right direction for proper TREAD submissions:
The days of paper filing are dwindling down. This system may still work for smaller manufacturers, but as a company’s paper trail increases, organization goes out the window. Think about how you are collecting your records and set up a system that keeps things organized and easy to access. Electronic filing makes submissions fast and easy. New systems may take some getting used to, but you will thank yourself in the long run when submissions are a breeze.
Have A Plan
Know the submission schedule and prepare for it. Think about adding a time to your schedule each week to compile and organize your files for submission. Then when deadlines approach everything is already in order for quick review and submission instead of the stress of last minute cramming.
Do not be afraid to reach out to NHTSA for clarification. It is always better to ask the question, than make an assumption and pay the consequences later.
Maintain and Review
Have annual reviews of your process (or even quarterly if it is new to you) to smooth out any problems you may be having. Perfection takes practice, so keep at it and do what works best for your company. Quarterly submissions should not be a burden, but just another thing to check off your to-do list.
About the Company
Kinetic Metrics takes the guesswork out of reporting because its staff understands what is required. The company has an extensive knowledge base of the laws and regulations from its previous NHTSA work experiences. Therefore, one of their primary services include assessing a company’s current reporting process and providing useful feedback on how they can become more efficient and organized in reporting safety-related defects. Kinetic Metrics can save your company the time and effort needed to report this information by also doing it for you on a quarterly basis.
For more information about what Kinetic Metrics can do for your company, contact Emily Reichard at (703) 772-4088 or Mark Swanson at (703) 772-4416. You may also visit their website at www.kineticmetrics.com.