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Center for Auto Safety v. Foxx

The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), enacted on July 6, 2012, required the Department of Transportation (DOT) to make available on a publicly accessible website copies of communications from motor vehicle and motor vehicle equipment manufacturers “to the manufacturer’s dealers or to owners or purchasers of a motor vehicle or replacement equipment produced by the manufacturer about a defect or noncompliance with a motor vehicle safety standard prescribed under [chapter 301 of Title 49] in a vehicle or equipment that is sold or serviced.” 49 U.S.C. § 30166(f). MAP-21 also required the Secretary to make an index to each communication available online in a searchable format.

Public Citizen represented the Center for Auto Safety in a case against DOT based on its failure to comply with these mandates and make all of the required communications and indexes publicly available online. Prompted by our complaint, DOT published a notice in the Federal Register of its intent to publicly post the manufacturer communications on its website. The agency also provided guidance in the notice to make manufacturers aware of their obligation to index their communications.

We agreed to stay the case while DOT developed a more automated system for processing the communications and worked on uploading its backlog of communications to its website. After DOT had launched the new system and posted more than 50,000 communications to its website, we dismissed the lawsuit.