The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA") administers the U.S. National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act ("Vehicle Safety Act") and enforces the U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards ("Safety Standards") through both compliance testing and defects investigation. As more and more motor vehicles, parts, and equipment are being imported into the United States, NHTSA has recognized that industry plays a key role in reducing the likelihood of unsafe motor vehicles and equipment from entering the U.S. market.
Based on the recommendations of a U.S. Interagency working group, NHTSA has proposed to develop with industry a series of import best practices. These best practices would include safety assurance in the areas of (1) selecting foreign manufacturers to produce products, (2) inspecting foreign manufacturing facilities, (3) inspecting goods produced on their behalf either before export to the United States or distribution within the United States, (4) identifying the product's country of origin, and (5) ensuring supply chain security.
On July 8, 2008, NHTSA published proposed import safety "Best Practices" guidelines that contain 14 broad recommendations and 50 action steps for industry to consider and implement. These Best Practices are aimed to cover all importers of not only motor vehicles, parts, and equipment, including vehicles and vehicle parts themselves, but also tires, lighting and signaling systems, motorcycle helmets, safety equipment and the like.
Comments on the proposed "Best Practices" should be submitted in writing to NHTSA by August 7, 2008. Please note that specific rules apply regarding submission of comments and attachments. Late comments may be discarded by the Agency.