In light of GM's massive 1.6 million vehicle recall and Toyota's massive $1.2 billion settlement over the unattended acceleration problem, two U.S. Senators introduced legislation to require automakers to provide more information concerning incidents that involve the loss of human life.
Senators Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut introduced the Early Warning Reporting System Improvement Act yesterday. The bill would require automobile and equipment manufacturers to submit accident reports or other documents automatically to NHTSA’s Early Warning Reporting database. NHTSA cannot access this information unless they request them.
The bill would also require NHTSA to make information it gets from automakers available in a searchable, user-friendly format so drivers and experts can look and evaluate potential defects.
“A massive information breakdown at NHTSA has led to deadly vehicle breakdowns on our roads. The Department of Transportation has the authority to require critical safety information be made publicly available, but it has never used its authority. We need the Early Warning Reporting system to provide actual early warnings to ensure the public is informed and possible defects are fully investigated,” said Markey.
Safety experts say this is a good start, but more needs to be done.
“In light of the problems revealed with Toyota unintended acceleration and Cobalt air bags, we know EWR is broken and needs to be fixed. Auto companies have run millions of defective vehicles through loopholes in EWR, including not having to submit documents on deaths caused by defects when they first learn of them.” said Clarence Ditlow, executive director for the Center for Auto Safety.
Source: The Detroit News