WASHINGTON—The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is seeking comments on a proposed Enforcement Guidance Bulletin that would allow disclosure to NHTSA of important motor vehicle safety information included in otherwise sealed settlement agreements in private litigation.
In a Sept. 21 Federal Register notice, NHTSA noted that its efforts to identify vehicle safety defects depends largely on reports from auto makers themselves.
“However, although federal regulations may require them to report certain information to NHTSA, manufacturers do not always do so, or do not do so in a timely manner,” the agency said.
Because of this, safety-related information discovered during private litigation is an important resource for NHTSA, according to the agency.
The proposed bulletin sets forth guiding principles and best practices to be used in the context of private litigation, NHTSA said. In it, NHTSA recommends that litigants include a provision in any protective order or settlement agreement that provides for disclosure of relevant safety information to NHTSA, despite any other restrictions on its disclosure.
NHTSA is accepting comments on this proposal until Oct. 19. The notice can be found here.