NHTSA: ABS Light Still On

Not so fast, NHTSA says.

The July Trailer/Body Builders quoted the acting chief counsel of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as saying that the agency is “retracting and holding in abeyance any previous statements that (the MSQR-5000 antilock brake system) does not meet the antilock brake system requirements” of FMVSS 121.

According to a NHTSA public information officer, however, the agency did not write the letter from which the quotation was taken. Rather, the letter was written by the law firm retained by Air Brake Systems, manufacturer of the MSQR-5000.

Air Brake Systems has been meeting with NHTSA in an effort to convince the agency that the company's pneumatic ABS product complies with the requirements of FMVSS 121. In addition, the law firm that Air Brake Systems retained has sent letters to NHTSA in support of the company's position and disputing actions that NHTSA has taken.

In response to what it termed “previous inappropriate action” on the part of NHTSA, the law firm drafted a letter for the acting chief counsel to sign and distribute. It was this letter, written by Air Brake Systems legal counsel, that contained the announcement that NHTSA was reversing itself on the question of whether the MSQR-5000 complies with FMVSS 121.

NHTSA is continuing its analysis of the product, according to the NHTSA spokesman. Its legal office will respond to the Air Brake Systems arguments — perhaps by the first of September. As of yet, however, the agency has not retracted its statements or held them in abeyance.

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