Two U.S. Senators are looking to create an express lane for motor vehicle recalls.
Citing the approximately 38,000 deaths and more than four million injured in auto accidents, Senators Edward J. Markey and Richard Blumenthal introduced several auto safety bills. Two focus on improving recalls and defect reporting while the third addressed the possible need for mandated driver-monitoring systems.
The Promoting Auto Recalls Toward Safety (PARTS) Act will significantly improve the time it takes to issue motor vehicle recalls. The legislation authorizes the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to fund state efforts to shorten the time between a defect being discovered and notification of a recall by manufacturers.
Additional reporting will also be put in place to ensure all information is given to the public. The bill also calls for the documentation of the progress and effectiveness of manufacturers via scorecards.
Defect investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have hit record lows over the past few years. The Early Warning Reporting Systems Improvement Act provides a much-needed bridge to ensure that auto manufacturers offer more information to the public about serious injuries and deaths.
The NHTSA must also provide document formats that are significantly more “user friendly” to ensure that the information gets out to not only the public, but also independent safety experts who can conduct their own assessments.
The Stay Aware for Everyone (SAFE) Act addresses driver assistance technologies that have created a quandary. The better assistance technologies work, the more distracted and disengaged drivers become. Innovative automation in vehicles was designed to improve safety. Yet, it has also increased complacency due to an overreliance and outright misuse of this cutting-edge technology. While the bill calls for a study, driver-monitoring systems may be mandated in separate legislation, depending on the outcome.