Four Automotive Safety Bills Introduced to Congress

Car and truck safety-related issues continue to cause tens of thousands of deaths in the U.S. every year. Problems range from inefficient manufacturer-issued automotive recalls to the continued pervasiveness of distracted-driving accidents. In addition, nearly 3 million people are injured in motor vehicle crashes each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Experts believe these deaths and injuries could be significantly reduced if more common-sense regulations were enacted and if new technologies were implemented.

In July 2020, a comprehensive package of four automobile safety bills was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sens. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). All four bills have been endorsed by numerous car and driving safety organizations and consumer advocacy groups. The four bills are:

Promoting Auto Recalls Toward Safety (PARTS) Act

Building on the lessons learned from the Takada airbag recall, the PARTS Act would make grants and other assistance available to help states more quickly and effectively communicate information on manufacturer safety recalls to registered motor vehicle owners and lessees.  States receiving the grants would be required to measure and report their performance on improving safety recalls to the Department of Transportation (DOT). Also, annual scorecard reports of recall completion rates would be required to be prepared for review by Congress.

Early Warning Reporting Systems Improvement Act

One of the NHTSA’s responsibilities is to research, strategize, plan, and implement programs to reduce crashes, fatalities, and injuries. The NHTSA does this by collecting information and investigating incidents caused by car and truck manufacturers’ potential defects. This bill would require manufacturers to provide more information on incidents. The bill would also make the additional information publicly available in a more user-friendly format so the defects can be evaluated by independent safety experts and the general public.

Stay Aware for Everyone (SAFE) Act

The SAFE Act would direct the DOT to conduct research on:

  • Driver distraction
  • Driver disengagement
  • Automation complacency by drivers
  • Foreseeable misuse of advanced driver-assist systems

Based on the research results, the DOT would then be required to establish performance standards for driver monitoring systems. Congress would then need to pass laws to require the installation of driver monitoring systems in new passenger vehicles. The intent is to minimize or eliminate death, injuries, and property damage caused by driver distraction.

Modernizing Seat Back Safety Act

For over 50 years, the U.S. government has done little to update its standard for seat back integrity in new cars. Tragically, many children have been killed or injured when front seats collapse backward during a collision. This bill would reduce the potential for injury due to seat back failure during all types of vehicle impact.

 

Advocating for Safety on the Roads

The motor vehicle accident attorneys at Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., are committed to advocating for improved safety on our roadways. We have dedicated our careers to fighting for victims of crashes that could have been prevented. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in an auto accident, we urge you to contact us now to learn about your legal rights.