NHTSA extends deadline on designated seating positions

  • 05-Jan-2010 11:07 EST

NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) has decided to delay by one year the deadline for compliance with a rule that clarifies the term designated seating position (DSP) and spells out the formula for calculating the number of them in a given vehicle model. The new deadline is Sept. 1, 2011. While approving their request for a deadline extension, NHTSA denied petitioners (including the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers) their request for a deadline phase-in, meaning 100% of new vehicles produced on or after Sept. 1, 2011 must conform. In addition, the agency granted petitions from the American Association for Justice (AAJ) and Public Citizen to remove language from the DSP rule (originally issued in October 2008) stating that any state requirement, including any determination under state tort law, premised on there being more DSPs than the number contemplated in the NHTSA definition, was preempted. The AAJ asserted that the preemption language contradicted Congressional intent, as discerned in a November 2005 letter signed by two U.S. senators to NHTSA's deputy administrator, to allow lawsuits against automakers based on state tort law.

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