Vehicle recall must if 100 complain: Draft bill

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Times of India, September 15, 2014

Soon, vehicle manufacturers may have to face mandatory recall rather than hiding behind “voluntary” recalls when a particular model is found to be defective.

The draft Road Transport and Safety Bill proposes that if 100 or more people complain about a particular defect in any vehicle model which could cause harm to occupants or road users to the Vehicle Regulation and Road Safety Authority, then the authority can order a recall on its own.

The unified and independent authority for vehicle regulation and road safety, which would be set up, can also order recall if a model is non-compliant with the provisions of the proposed law.

The draft bill also mentions that manufacturers whose vehicles are subject to a recall order would have to compensate buyers for the full value of the vehicle or replace or repair the defective vehicle with another vehicle of similar or better specifications. The details and procedure for recall would be laid out when the regulations would be notified by the Centre.

In the absence of any vehicle recall policy, passenger vehicle manufacturers have been announcing voluntary recalls. “We have already set the time frame for mandatory recall and complete crash test of vehicles. The manufacturers must gear up for this by the time the new laws are in place,” a government source said.

The authority shall specify regulations for safety assessment tests so that people can be informed about the safety ratings of all such vehicles, particularly passenger cars.

As per the proposals, industry will be given lead-time for adopting new standards while there will be a time-bound vehicle type approval to promote innovation. The bill also provides for vehicle makers to ensure availability of spare parts at cheaper price.

The draft Bill suggests road worthiness tests for all cars and two wheelers every five years.

The Bill that covers almost all aspect of road safety also proposes that the national authority shall develop a road map for unified road accident and offences system, stiff fine on overloading and carrying protruding items. There is a provision to hold vehicle owner, consigner, highway operator and local police responsible for allowing such vehicle to ply on roads.

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