House Bill Would Require Car Black Boxes

House Bill Would Require Car Black Boxes

The House of Representatives' Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection, Energy and Commerce Committee is considering a bill that would expand the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) powers and put so-called "black boxes" in every passenger vehicle.

The House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection, Energy and Commerce Committee is considering a bill that would expand the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) powers and put so-called "black boxes" in every passenger vehicle.

Born out of recent unintended acceleration cases, the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010, still in the draft stage, would bolster NHTSA’s manpower and expertise, particularly in the area of vehicle electronics systems.

Included in the bill is a provision mandating that automobiles be equipped with event data recorders to record crash information. Not only could that technology aid in the diagnosis of presumed electronic system malfunctions, such technology would also provide accident data that could be leveraged in court cases – particularly tire-related cases.

The House Committee is expected to review the bill further today. AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet commented on the bill, pointing out that, as an organization serving more than 51 million motorists and an advocate for transportation safety, AAA shares the public’s concern about deaths and injuries related to vehicle failures.

“The attention garnered in the aftermath of the Toyota incidents has served as a wake-up call to Congress that the nation’s leading transportation safety agency, NHTSA, needs better resources to quickly respond to vehicle safety problems,” Darbelnet said. “Not only do manufacturers have a responsibility to produce safe vehicles, but consumers have a right to expect that manufacturers and regulators have made every possible effort to ensure their safety.

Noting that unintended acceleration has contributed to 102 deaths over the past decade, Darbelnet warned that it is only one part of a much larger issue that needs to be addressed. Significantly more deaths result each year in crashes associated with alcohol-impaired driving (11,773), speeding (11,674), and non-use of seat belts (12,865), he said.
 
"A debate about how best to improve the vehicle recall process is appropriate,” he said. “It is just one part, however, of Congress’s larger role in traffic safety. As a nation, we lose more than 37,000 people and injure 2.3 million in over 5.8 million crashes each year. Relatively few are related to vehicle failures. AAA urges Congress not to lose sight of the bigger picture.
 
AAA is calling for at least 10 percent of all transportation investment to be spent on safety to fund better data collection systems, road improvements and use of “evidence-based strategies to change the culture of complacency about transportation safety.” Currently less than 4 percent is dedicated to safety.

Article courtesy of AftermarketNews and Tire Review.        

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