The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Safety Overhaul Bill Introduced in Senate

May 05, 2010

WASHINGTON - Two senators have introduced a bill that's similar to a House proposal released last week seeking to overhaul the country's auto safety requirements, the New York Times reported. 

Last week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee released draft legislation that would establish new standards and requirements related to vehicle brake override systems, event data recorders (black boxes) and electronic controls.

The Senate legislation introduced on Tuesday, May 4, has some notable differerences, though, the New York Times reported. The Senate bill would require automobiles to be able to stop within a certain distance, even with an open throttle. But unlike the House version, the Senate bill doesn't require brake override systems.

The bill was introduced by senators John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and Mark L. Pryor (D-AR), who heads the Senate subcommittee on consumer protection issues.

Their bill calls for the NHTSA to issue a rule requiring a minimum distance between the accelerator and brake pedals and the vehicle floor. The NHTSA would establish standards on keyless ignition systems as well.

The Senate bill would also increase the civil penalty on automakers to $25,000 per vehicle, from $5,000, and eliminate the overall cap on civil penalties for automakers that intentionally fail to report vehicle safety problems or intentionally provide misleading information to government safety authorities.

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