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Schakowsky and Pallone Champion Auto Safety Provisions Included in Moving Forward Act

Jun 22, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce Chair Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) announced the inclusion of critical auto safety provisions in H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act.  The provisions will improve auto safety and will help prevent tragic deaths from drunk driving, children being left in hot cars, carbon monoxide poisoning, and unsafe limousines.

“By including these auto safety provisions in today’s infrastructure bill, House Democrats are taking bold action to stop tragic and preventable auto-related deaths,” Schakowsky and Pallone said.  “This bill includes critical provisions to modernize vehicle safety by requiring advance safety systems in new cars, including drunk driving prevention technology, requiring NHTSA to update 5-star ratings for new cars and improving limousine safety.  All of these provisions would save countless lives and make our roads safer for everyone — pedestrians, cyclists, drivers and passengers.  The Committee has been working on these issues for years, and we look forward to working with Speaker Pelosi to ensure the House passes this bill soon.”

The lifesaving auto safety provisions in the “Moving Forward Act” would:

  • Help prevent hot car deaths by directing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to require vehicles to be equipped with a system that detects the presence of a child or other occupant left unattended in a vehicle and issue warnings to prevent vehicular heatstroke.
  • Protect Americans from the risks of keyless ignition technology by requiring manufacturers to install technology that prevents carbon monoxide poisoning and vehicle rollaways in each motor vehicle equipped with a keyless ignition device.
  • Establish minimum performance standards, require all new passenger motor vehicles to be equipped with advanced driver assistance systems and update safety standards for headlamps.   
  • Update the New Car Assessment Program to require NHTSA to publish a biannual roadmap detailing efforts to update the program; directs the Secretary of Transportation to update or create new tests and ratings for crashworthiness features, crash avoidance systems, pedestrian safety, post-crash safety, and drunk driving prevention technology; and mandates the Secretary regularly update the program.
  • Honor the Abbas family’s legacy to stop drunk driving by directing NHTSA to prescribe a motor vehicle safety standard requiring passenger motor vehicles to be equipped with an advanced drunk driving prevention system that detects if the driver is intoxicated.
  • Ensure limousine compliance with federal safety standards by requiring limousines to have safety belts and meet federal standards for seats and seat assemblies and closes a loophole allowing used vehicles to be converted into limousines without meeting federal safety standards, and more.

Auto safety organizations applauded the inclusion of these measures in the bill:

Cathy Chase, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety: “Last year more than 36,000 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes, and more than 2.7 million were injured in 2018.  This tragic and preventable toll will be significantly reduced if Congress enacts the Motor Vehicle Safety Title. The numerous commonsense safety advances it includes will protect all road users by requiring proven safety technologies in new cars including: automatic emergency braking (AEB); drunk driving prevention technology; systems to detect and prevent children from being unintentionally left inside or climbing into vehicles on their own; and, systems to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and rollaway in vehicles with keyless ignition systems. It will also update the once groundbreaking New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), also known as ‘stars on cars,’ and close critical gaps in limousine safety.  We thank House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) for their innovative vision and leadership to truly put safety first and prioritize these improvements. Advocates also lauds the other sponsors who introduced stand-alone bills on these issues including Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Peter King (R-NY), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Antonio Delgado (D-NY), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Darren Soto (D-FL), Seth Moulton (D-MA), and Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA).  We urge Congress to enact this essential safety legislation to make our Nation’s roads safer for all.”

“MADD applauds Chairman Frank Pallone and Chairwoman Jan Schakowsky for their leadership to save lives in this legislation,” said MADD National President Helen Witty.  “This bill makes traffic and automotive safety a top priority.  We also commend Rep. Debbie Dingell for her steadfast commitment to drunk driving prevention.  The bill includes her HALT Act which sets a reasonable time frame to equip all new passenger vehicles with passive, advanced drunk driving prevention systems.”

“Safety should never be treated as a luxury, yet automakers often offer proven life-saving technologies only as luxury options. It’s time to put an end to that. Just as the law requires seat belts and air bags, the House’s safety title would require every new car to come standard with features like blind spot warning. This safety title would greatly strengthen the five-star safety ratings program, help save children from heatstroke in cars, and address hazards in cars with keyless ignitions, among other things. Congress should pass this legislation because it’s critical for auto safety innovations to benefit everyone—not just those who can afford them,” said William Wallace, manager of safety policy for Consumer Reports.

Jason K. Levine, Executive Director, Center for Auto Safety, stated, “Vehicle safety does not happen by accident. Instead, it takes focused leadership to be sure that safety is built into cars by design. The package of bills introduced today, if enacted, will significantly advance the cause of auto safety for millions of Americans in the decades to come. The improvements these bills will make standard for every new car include requiring technology like advanced driver assist systems, which when paired with performance standards, can minimize and mitigate crashes for all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. This legislative package will renew the NCAP program, enabling Americans to make decisive safety choices, instead of being subjected to the outdated participation trophy NHTSA has allowed the 5-star crash program to become. The new NCAP will provide consumers with better information by creating tests incentivizing the development of cars that will result in fewer deaths from seatback failures, distracted driving, and the auto industry’s refusal to protect all ages, genders, and body-types in car crashes. This bill package will help prevent children from dying of heat asphyxia in the back of cars and older adults dying in their homes from the silent killer of carbon monoxide unknowingly spewing from their vehicle. The long overdue safety advancements in this package are a result of the leadership of Chairwoman Schakowsky and we are excited to see them become law.”

A section by section summary of the bill is available HERE.

The bill text is available HERE.

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