U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) has introduced H.R. 1181, the Public Access to Motor Vehicle Safety Information bill. This legislation was introduced partly in response to recent automaker safety issues and airbag defects.
“Over the past year and a half, we have seen a record number of recalls and far too many serious injuries and deaths,” Schakowsky said. “It’s time for stronger driver, passenger and pedestrian safeguards, and the Vehicle Safety Improvement Act delivers on that need.”
H.R. 1181 aims to maximize public awareness by increasing the amount of vehicle safety information auto manufacturers must provide to their customers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Specifically, this bill would:
- Impose harsher penalties on companies that fail to comply with federal safety standards, removing the current statutory maximum penalties;
- Require new standards to reduce pedestrian and rear passenger injuries;
- Ensure that used vehicles are repaired before they are resold; and
- Expedite auto recalls that pose an “imminent hazard” of injuries or deaths.
The bill provides additional funding to NHTSA to enforce its directives. The bill will provide this funding through the creation of the Vehicle Safety Fund, which will require automakers to pay $3 for each motor vehicle certified during the first year in which such fees are assessed, $6 during the second year and $9 during the third year. This bill is currently before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.