NHTSA opens several investigations into Volvo truck defects in response to petition submitted by OOIDA

| Friday, January 18, 2002

Jan. 17, 2002, Grain Valley, MO - The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has begun an investigation of several reported defects in Volvo trucks. These investigations come in response to a petition submitted by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and supported by complaints about mechanical problems with more than 500 Volvo trucks. The new investigations focus on steering problems, front u-bolt problems and sleeper berth fires. These investigations join an ongoing NHTSA inquiry of rear u-bolt problems in Volvo trucks.

The problems Volvo owners reported with u-bolts include the unusual loosening, stretching, twisting and complete sheering off of u-bolts. The causes of steering problems reported include front-end shaking and shuddering and steering column lock-up. Volvo owners attributed reports of sleeper berth fires most often to problems with the electrical system.

A petition, such as the one OOIDA submitted, has the power of requiring NHTSA to examine the available evidence of a defect and make a decision on whether or not to open an investigation. If through an investigation NHTSA believes a vehicle defect exists, it has the power to pursue a vehicle recall and/or the manufacturer's remedy of that defect. There are no specific rules that require NHTSA to open a vehicle defect investigation. It is merely required to review the available evidence and then determine if the potential harm to public safety merits the expenditure of its limited resources.

OOIDA, which represents the interests of the nation's professional truck drivers, became aware of the problem with Volvo trucks and was able to gather from its members and readers of its monthly publication, Land Line, a sufficient number of Volvo owner complaints to get NHTSA's attention. OOIDA continues to help Volvo truck owners provide NHTSA with useful information for its investigations. The length of these investigations will depend on the complexity of the problems and the cooperation of the manufacturer. There are no statutory deadlines for the completion of an investigation.

OOIDA President Jim Johnston reacted to the announcement of the NHTSA investigation saying, "Volvo owners are anxious for an immediate resolution to their problems and OOIDA is encouraged that NHTSA has elected to open the investigations. The association is confident NHTSA will devote the time and resources necessary to identify the defect and provide an adequate resolution for Volvo owners."

Founded in 1973, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), is comprised of more than 73,000 owner-operators, professional drivers, and small business truckers from all 50 states and Canada. OOIDA represents the interest of this nation's more than 350,000 small business trucking professionals in the legislative and regulatory processes at both federal and state levels.

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