Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
December 15, 2011
Yesterday, the Senate Commerce Committee approved a bill that would overhaul the nation's auto safety laws. The bill includes measures to raise the maximum fine for automakers that delay recalls from $17.35 million to $250 milllion.
The bill also includes measures that would give states grants for banning texting while driving or the use of cell phones by teen drivers, increase funding for research, improve the vehicle recall database and website, create a hotline for mechanics, dealers and auto workers to complain anonymously about safety problems with vehicles, and new regulations on pedal placement, push-button ignition and electronic performance issues.
Automakers are mixed on the bill. All of them back certain measures of the bill, but disagree on the raised fines. A coalition of groups, which include the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Association of Global Automakers, National Association of Manufacturers and American International Automobile Dealers Association sent a letter to congress opposing the increase.
"The proposed increases are so out of proportion either to the current penalty structure or the penalty structure for other manufacturers under the Consumer Product Safety Act as to appear unfairly punitive. The proposed increases should be scaled back to a more appropriate level," the letter states.
Automakers also note that in 2010, the number of road deaths fell to its lowest number since 1949 (under 33,000).
The senate hopes to include the bill in a highway reauthorization bill coming early next year.
Source: The Detroit News