Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010 | Giving the NHTSA teeth

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Senate hearing chamber

The Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010 aims to add new legislative regulations to vehicle safety. Image from Flickr.

For the first time in a decade, Congress will be considering legislation that will make major changes in vehicle safety – the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010. This act is scheduled for hearing by subcommittees next Thursday. Henry A. Waxman, a Democrat from California, is taking the helm on this legislation

Motor Vehicle Safety Act gives NHTSA more budget

Given questions about the effectiveness of the NHTSA raised during recent congressional hearings, the Motor Vehicle Safety Act looks to strengthen the regulatory agency. A “vehicle safety user fee” of $3 per vehicle would be added to vehicles sold – and that money would go directly to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s budget. The NHTSA would also have the cap on statutory damages removed, increasing how much it can fine carmakers. Finally, the NHTSA would have the ability to require immediate recalls if they identify safety concerns in a vehicle.

Improving safety with the Motor Vehicle Safety Act

The Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010 would also implement several new safety features on vehicles. All vehicles sold in the United States would be required, under the MVSA, to have a “black box.” These vehicle data recorders would record the electronic and mechanical events in a car. The Motor Vehicle Safety Act would also require a new brake override system, which would provide a mechanical way to stop the car even if the throttle is stuck open.

Reactions to the Motor Vehicle Safety Act

While many senators have signed on to the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010, not everyone is happy about the new proposed regulations. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents U.S., European and Japanese car makers, said they were “concerned about the sheer number of new regulations.” The spokeswoman for the Alliance has suggested instead that legislators “focus on the few measures that would produce the most substantial safety benefit in the shortest time.”


New York Times
Washington Post

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