Auto Safety Proposal: ‘Black Boxes’ may soon be required in all vehicles

Auto Safety Proposal: ‘Black Boxes’ may soon be required in all vehicles


05/03/2010 // West Palm Beach, Florida, USA // Nicole Howley // Nicole Howley

Washington, D.C.—In response to Toyota’s massive vehicle recalls, all new cars and trucks will be installed with black boxes if a proposed legislation is passed. The series of proposals in Congress would also require automakers to pay fees to help fund the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which will help to increase automobile safety, as reported by MSNBC.

On April 29, the House Energy and Commerce Committee released a draft that could potentially be the foundation that will strengthen automobile safety and NHTSA. The draft would “eliminate the cap on civil penalties an automaker could face and allow NHTSA to order an immediate recall if it finds an ‘imminent hazard of death or serious injury.’” The legislation would also implement new safety measures related to brake override systems, ensuring the pedals wont get caught in the floor mats and vehicle electronics. In addition, U.S. automotive executives would have to certify that accuracy of all information given to NHTSA. If false information was provided to government officials, executives could face up to $250 million in fines.

The black boxes will be used to record crash information so that authorities could reconstruct accidents more easily and to heighten vehicle safety.

The legislation draft will also create a “vehicle user fee” of $3 per automobile, which will increase to $9 in its third year. The fee will help to fund NHTSA’S vehicle safety program, which many safety officials have said is “underfunded and ill-equipped to investigate complicated safety problems.”

The proposed legislation is expected to be considered by Congress sometime this year.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for government lawyers.

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