Democratic senators urge US auto agency on safety rules


Senators Ed Markey, Richard Blumenthal, Sherrod Brown, Dick Durbin, Jack Reed, Ron Wyden and others have written to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asking the agency to explain its lack of drafting progress new regulations mandated by Congress.

A $1 trillion Infrastructure Act of 2021 enacted in 2021 includes 10 new car safety provisions, including “modernization standards” for collision avoidance technologies, automatic engine shut-off devices and headlights, indicates the letter.

“When releasing new safety measures, regulators have too often crawled through yellow lights or stalled at red lights,” the letter said. “Congress has given the green light to NHTSA to press metal to reduce motor vehicle fatalities.”

The 2021 law also directs NHTSA to establish rules requiring new vehicles to include technology to prevent intoxicated drivers from starting vehicles and mandated systems to alert drivers to check rear seats after driving. turn off vehicles.

The Department of Transportation said in April that NHTSA is “committed to ensuring that its underlying processes improve the timely completion of congressional warrants.”

NHTSA’s slow drafting of new auto safety regulations has been criticized before, and there are often years behind deadlines set by Congress to draft new safety rules.

An April report from the Government Accountability Office said NHTSA failed to comply with 16 of 22 rules imposed by Congress in legislation passed in 2012 and 2015.

The senators’ letter noted that the November 2021 Infrastructure Act directs NHTSA to submit a report within six months on the status of advance rules requested by Congress and expected completion dates. “Unfortunately, NHTSA has already passed that six-month deadline,” the letter said.

NHTSA was without a Senate-confirmed director for more than five years until Steven Cliff was confirmed in May. Cliff resigned in September. President Joe Biden has not named a replacement.

Cliff told Reuters in July that NHTSA was moving aggressively to get new regulations. Since January 2021, the agency has finalized 16 rules and started work on 25 new rules, Cliff said.

(Reporting by David Shepardson)

By David Shepardson

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