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The surface transportation bill can help make cars safer, if it doesn't cut corners

Consumer Reports News: May 31, 2012 01:23 PM

As the federal government works on the surface transportation bill now before Congress, Consumer Reports and its advocacy arm Consumers Union urge lawmakers to adopt several Senate-approved measures in order to make much-needed improvements in making cars safer and saving lives on our highways.

The surface transportation bill is a wide-ranging piece of legislation that includes funds for bridge and road repair, federal highway construction, public transit, and other projects.

Consumers Union and other advocates have been pressing Congress to add language to the transportation bill to update and improve transportation standards.

Speaking at a hearing held in March by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, Consumers Union Senior Policy Counsel Ami Gadhia called on the House to include several Senate-approved measures in its bill, such as:

  • Requiring the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to issue safety standards for vehicle stopping distance, brake override, and pedal placement.

  • Providing grants to states that pass and enforce anti-distracted driving laws and graduated drivers' licensing laws for teenagers.

  • Prioritizing new safety standards for car seats for children, as well as prioritizing new research into emerging child safety concerns.

  • Improving NHTSA's public database of consumer safety reports to make it more useful and accessible to consumers.

  • Requiring event data recorders in all new cars starting with model-year 2015 vehicles.

The House wound up approving its version of the transportation bill without including the Senate-backed safety measures. But there's still hope that these important consumer protections will become law.

A committee of House and Senate members is now working a final draft of the transportation bill.

Consumers Union and other consumer groups are calling on the committee to be sure to include the Senate's safety measures in the final bill. Advocates are on Capitol Hill this week to urge lawmakers to stand up for consumers and make these safety measures the law of the land.

Consumers Union calls for changes to strengthen U.S. car-safety net

Consumer Reports

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