The US Senate is working on a bill that could potentially save the lives of hundreds of children on US roadways from propelling seats due to a collision.
The bill, written and introduced by Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal, seeks to regulate the standards car manufacturers must use for the seatbacks in vehicles. Faulty seatbacks that collapse upon impact during an accident are responsible for killing at least 50 children per year on average.
This is a frightening prospect for parents who purchase a car thinking it’s a safe, reliable model. Something as insidious as a seat that collapses in a collision isn’t easily detectable, but it can take the life of a small child in an instant.
Too many years of ignoring the problem
Senator Markey has been working since 2015 to push automakers to upgrade their standards for seatbacks. Currently, the standard that is used, which dates back to the 1960s, is so lenient that a fold-out banquet-style chair could pass the test. Stricter regulations are not favored by car companies, but their lifesaving potential is one worth fighting for.
This can affect almost every type of car make and model, meaning any car is at risk. Crash safety tests and investigations have revealed the prevalence of this fatal flaw as an ongoing issue, yet car manufacturers have never taken measures to update the standard.
A bill to save lives
The Modernizing Seatback Safety Act would require the National Highway Transportation Administration to take action and create higher standards within two years of the bill passing.
It would be a major victory for families of young children who are at risk in the event of an accident in their own vehicle.