UPDATE 1-US regulator backs plan to boost auto recall power

* NHTSA says bill would give it more leverage

* Virtually all auto recalls voluntary

* Automakers warn recall provision too broad

WASHINGTON, May 6 (BestGrowthStock) – The top U.S. auto safety
regulator welcomed on Thursday proposals in Congress to sharply
boost government powers for forcing vehicle recalls.

David Strickland, administrator of the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), told lawmakers that
recall and other provisions in draft legislation would give the
agency significantly more leverage.

“Whether its negotiating with manufacturers or the ability
for the agency to move forward in a mandatory fashion — those
are the core of what want to achieve,” Strickland said.

“We want to take the risks off the road as quickly as we
can,” Strickland said at a House of Representatives Energy and
Commerce Committee hearing on the bill.

NHTSA has the authority to force a recall, but the legal
process can be lengthy and costly. Regulators commonly
negotiate recalls with carmakers, which then act voluntarily to
notify vehicle owners.

New auto safety legislation in the House and Senate stems
from scrutiny of Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: )(TM.N: ) recalls of
more than 6.5 million vehicles in the United States for
unintended acceleration in 2009 and 2010.

NHTSA has been criticized by Congress and safety advocates
during the Toyota saga for not being tough enough with the
Japanese automaker and other companies over the years.

Legislative proposals would permit regulators to force
recalls when they determine that doing so would prevent an
imminent safety risk.

U.S. and overseas automakers, through their trade groups,
told lawmakers that the tough recall provision was overly broad
and could wind up restricting the views of manufacturers,
possibly making it unconstitutional.

Penny Stocks
(Reporting by John Crawley, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

UPDATE 1-US regulator backs plan to boost auto recall power