Will Congress Fix Auto Safety?
Legislation Being Considered in CongressThe Detroit News reports Senator Thune, Republican from South Dakota, is considering legislation.
“Washington — The head of the Senate Commerce Committee is considering legislative proposals to reform the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but said he is still not convinced the auto safety agency needs more funding.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., chair of the committee that oversees NHTSA, told The Detroit News on Tuesday the agency needs to make changes in the wake of General Motors’ delayed ignition recall linked to 111 deaths and the recall of 33.8 million vehicles with potentially defective Takata air bags.
“Part of the issue for NHTSA is just reforming and doing some things differently, and they could actually accomplish their mission — and it’s not necessarily an issue of money,” Thune said, adding he would be willing to listen to requests for more money. “We’ve looked at some reforms (for NHTSA),” he said.
He said he could introduce NHTSA reform legislation.”
How concerned should Senator Thune (and others) be?
* About two or three times each week people die of crash injuries in SD year after year after year. See data from 2002 athttp://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=71c3bb8008ae4682ab0a36f090a2b443&extent=-161.4739,21.4327,-63.388,54.2524
* In 2013, the number of States that had lower fatality rates than South Dakota was 41 States. See table attached.
Bipartisan Legislation Introduced
U.S. Senators Heller and Markey Team with U.S. Reps. Rokita and Blumenauer to Introduce Bill on Both Sides of Hill
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Edward Markey (D-MA) joined with U.S. Representatives Todd Rokita (R-IN) and Earl Blumenauer (D-WA) to introduce the Safety Through Informed Consumers Act (STICRS) Act, S. 1535, legislation that is both bipartisan and bicameral. The legislation requires the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to integrate active safety technology into its crashworthiness rating system.
“The Safety Through Informed Consumers Act is a necessary piece of legislation to ensure American families are well-versed on whether vehicles they are looking to purchase are equipped with the newest, state-of-the-art safety technology. Given recent issues surrounding ignition switch defects, airbag defects, and numerous vehicle recalls, this bipartisan-bicameral legislation will help restore consumers’ confidence in the safety of their vehicles. I look forward to working with Senator Markey and Congressmen Rokita and Blumenauer in order to move this legislation through Congress,” saidSenator Dean Heller.
“Consumers trust auto window-sticker safety ratings when they compare vehicles. Today’s 5-star safety rating system only tells them how safe they are in the vehicle once a crash occurs, ignoring any features like collision warning and automatic emergency braking, that can help avoid that crash in the first place. With new safety technology standard in many cars, we need a 21st century 5-star safety rating system that tells consumers how safe their vehicles really are,” stated Senator Edward Markey.
Representative Todd Rokita continued, “In a free market, informed consumers are one of the greatest drivers of advancement. The Safety Through Informed Consumers Act ensures that the latest safety technologies are integrated into the 5-star rating system, arming new car buyers with potentially life-saving information. This is a common-sense, bipartisan bill that promotes innovation, empowers consumers, and protects lives. I thank my colleagues for their support and look forward to working with them to advance this important legislation.”
Representative Earl Blumenauer added, “Active safety technologies, such as blind spot warning and assisted breaking, improve the safety of cars and save lives. Making consumers aware of such cutting-edge technology is a big step toward safer roadways for all users, regardless of how they choose to travel. People should clearly and easily understand the critical safety features in any vehicle they are considering buying.”
The 5-Star Safety Ratings System was created by the NHTSA to provide consumers with information about the crash protection and rollover safety of new vehicles. The program encourages manufacturers to voluntarily design safer vehicles by giving them safety ratings that can be used by consumers to compare vehicles when shopping for a new car. The safety ratings are posted prominently on the window stickers required to be displayed on all new vehicles.
Innovative and safety technologies, such as lane departure warning, forward collision warning, blind spot detection, and assisted breaking, are rapidly being developed, improved, and deployed on new automobiles. These types of technologies can save lives by preventing accidents altogether. The sponsors of the STICRS legislation believe it is important that consumers are aware of this available vehicle safety technology.