WASHINGTON (June 6) — The U.S. Department of Transportation has filed a brief with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, agreeing with the Rubber Manufacturers Association and the consumer group Public Citizen that it should consider the Freedom of Information Act aspects of the RMA´s lawsuit on early warning reporting data.
In March 2006 the court remanded the early warning rule to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It ruled the agency did not allow adequate public comment, but did not address the RMA´s contention that under FOIA all early warning data should be kept confidential except when a defect investigation is ongoing.
Both the RMA and Public Citizen — which opposes the RMA position and wants all early warning data made public — asked the court to rule on the FOIA issue, and DOT concurred.
"(The) RMA´s claim presents a straightforward question of statutory interpretation," the agency said. The court probably will take some time with the question, and may call for further briefs and/or additional hearings, an RMA spokesman said.