NHTSA puts brakes on Honda's 'Idle Stop' transmission technology, according to NetCompliance Website

BUSINESS WIRE — The federal government has temporarily put the brakes on American Honda Motor Co., Inc.'s next generation of "Idle Stop" automatic transmission systems for gasoline engines, and expressed overall safety concerns over "sudden lurching forward or backward" in vehicles with similar technology.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) declined to acknowledge whether Honda's transmissions are in compliance with federal safety laws, according to an agency document discovered and posted on the Websites of both NetCompliance, Inc., (www.netcompliance.com) and its subsidiary Website, Gasstationcompliance.com (www.gasstationcompliance.com).

NetCompliance, Inc. is a Washington, DC-based Internet provider of "paperless" compliance solutions, safety equipment and online worker training programs, delivered via the Internet to companies regulated by the Federal government.

Gasstationcompliance.com, its subsidiary, offers software modules that enable station managers to track thousands of chemical products through electronic Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) folders and also provides the first commercial system to tailor Web-based training by station location, employee, and chemical.

In an Idle Stop transmission, a vehicle's gasoline engine will shut off when the driver stops the vehicle with its brake, and will automatically restart itself when the driver subsequently removes his foot from the brake.

Honda said its new technology will reduce exhaust emissions when the vehicle is normally stopped and idling and "be a safe and efficient method to conserve fuel," according to a letter to NHTSA from William R. Willen, Honda's Managing Counsel, Product Regulatory Office, Torrance, CA.

NHTSA said it "will defer an opinion" on whether Idle Stop automatic transmissions in gasoline engines meet safety requirements until Honda makes more information available to the agency. But NHTSA did conclude the Idle Stop transmission for Honda's hybrid electric vehicles does meet automotive safety compliance standards based on information provided by the automaker.

NHTSA also said that it is considering beginning a rulemaking to address this new technology and update its motor vehicle safety laws.

NHTSA also issued a concern that this new technology must address the possibility of a sudden lurching forward of a vehicle in an automatic restart instead of the gradual creeping forward found in current transmission designs.

NHTSA said that besides Honda and Toyota Motor Corporation "other vehicle manufacturers are currently designing vehicles with gasoline or diesel engine and hybrid propulsion plants that operate differently but attempt to achieve improved fuel economy." NHTSA said it expects these other vehicles ... "will have safety features that prevent sudden lurching forward or backward when the gasoline engine is restarted. Such lurching is a concern because it could result in a crash."

"NetCompliance and its subsidiary, Gasstationcompliance.com, have posted this NHTSA interpretation to keep the driving public, the worldwide automobile industry and those companies regulated by NHTSA, current with the latest regulatory opinions of the federal government," said NetCompliance CEO Krish Krishnan. "Our Websites are providing our customers and visitors with up-to-the-minute compliance information on government actions and opinions which is not found anywhere else," he added.

In the past year, NetCompliance has broken news of major federal government actions affecting the nation and its businesses, in the areas of air bags, auto certification, retail advertising on tires, e-signature compliance on employee training certificates, and government ethics.

NetCompliance uses its eComply technology to allow businesses to meet federal and state regulations using an integrated information commerce suite of compliance and training modules, delivered by subscription via the Internet.

NetCompliance provides companies with a better, cheaper, and faster way for businesses to determine their compliance needs, meet training requirements, obtain specialized products and services, and manage compliance-related information to regulatory agencies. NetCompliance is a member of the US Congressional Internet Caucus.

Copies of the NHTSA and Honda letters are available at www.netcompliance.com.

Click here to see suppliers, related news articles, and services concerning automotive federal compliance.

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