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House Bill Introduced to Improve Vehicle Safety

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March 18, 2015—On Monday, U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) introduced H.R. 1181, the Public Access to Motor Vehicle Safety Information bill.

The legislation was introduced as a response to recent automaker safety issues and airbag defects.

“Over the past year and a half, we have seen a record number of recalls and far too many serious injuries and deaths. It’s time for stronger driver, passenger, and pedestrian safeguards, and the Vehicle Safety Improvement Act delivers on that need,” Schakowsky said in a release.

The goal of H.R. 1181 is to maximize public awareness by increasing the amount of vehicle safety information auto manufacturers must provide to their customers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Particularly, the bill seeks to:

•                Impose harsher penalties on companies that fail to comply with federal safety standards, removing the current statutory maximum penalties;

•                Require new standards to reduce pedestrian and rear passenger injuries;

•                Ensure that used vehicles are repaired before they are resold;

•                Expedite auto recalls that pose an “imminent hazard” of injuries or deaths.         

The bill will provide additional funding to the NHTSA to enforce its directives through the creation of the Vehicle Safety Fund—where automakers are required to pay $3 for each motor vehicle certified during the first year in which such fees are assessed, $6 during the second year, and $9 during the third year. The bill currently sits before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

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