Regulators have reluctantly agreed to give car companies more time to report sensitive safety data to the US government, ending a disagreement with the industry over how long it should take to organise information on potential defects.


Reuters said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration now will let vehicle manufacturers, tyre makers and other companies file their quarterly early warning reports within 60 days after the end of each three-month period.


It was reportedly the second time the agency had changed the reporting timetable after initially approving a final regulation more than two years ago that required the data submissions 30 days after the end of a quarter beginning in 2004.


The news agency said manufacturers have been reporting defect data since last year on the 60-day schedule, but regulators wanted quicker access to the information this year to identify any safety problems sooner.


Although NHTSA prefers a faster reporting schedule, it reportedly said the new timetable would not compromise safety because companies will have the extra time to ensure that data is accurate and complete.


But regulators also said they will revisit the issue after two years and could accelerate the reporting deadline, Reuters noted.


It added that companies are required to supply statistics on fatalities, injuries, property damage and warranty claims and consumer complaints as part of NHTSA’s early warning network that was put in place under orders from Congress after the Firestone tyre debacle.


But tyre makers, specifically, said that gathering information and completing reports has been more complex than first thought. For instance, some information comes from overseas and has to be translated, Reuters said.


Still undecided is what safety information from industry the government will make public. Tyre makers sued to keep some of the data confidential, arguing that releasing details on deaths and injuries, warranty claims and consumer complaints could harm competition, the report added.