Congress Introduces Vehicle Safety Bill

Congress Introduces Vehicle Safety Bill

Bill sponsors say it will enhance oversight, improve information-sharing and promote safety of American cars.

Members of the energy and commerce committee and its subcommittee on commerce manufacturing and trade introduced a bill to enhance oversight, improve information-sharing and promote safety of American cars.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rep. Frank Pallone and eight other members of the committee introduced the Vehicle Safety Improvement Act, which takes the lessons learned from the record 64 million recalled vehicles in 2014, according to the group.

The Vehicle Safety Improvement Act “makes it more costly for auto manufacturers to disregard or fail to comply with safety standards,” according to a statement issued by Schakowsky.

Schakowsky cited GM’s ignition switch case as one reason for the bill’s introduction. The bill increases individual penalties and removes statutory maximum penalties for violations of motor vehicle safety laws, “ensuring that sacrificing safety won’t be treated as a ‘slap on the wrist’ or just another cost of doing business.”

It also increases the amount and accessibility of information auto manufacturers must share with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the public about vehicle safety issues, according to the statement. Additionally, it requires new standards to reduce the risk of pedestrian injuries and deaths, asks for an analysis of whether safety standards should be developed to mitigate the safety risks to rear passengers, ensures that used vehicles subject to recall are fixed by auto dealers before being resold and provides new authority to expedite auto recalls if they pose an “imminent hazard” of serious injury or death.

The bill will increase NHTSA funding and resources to help oversee and enforce these new safeguards.

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