November 16, 2023

Wyden, Colleagues Call for Implementation of Critical Provisions to End Road Safety Crisis

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Ron Wyden along with Senate colleagues has sent a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requesting an update on the implementation of critical road safety provisions for Oregon and the country in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“Last year, nearly 43,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes. While this number represents a slight decrease from 2021 — the deadliest year on the road in sixteen years — bold action is necessary to address this road safety crisis,” wrote the senators. “There is no doubt our nation is at a critical moment for traffic safety, and NHTSA’s task of implementing the much needed … safety provisions will determine whether we continue our progress and leave traffic fatalities in the rear view mirror.”

“We commend NHTSA for its work to curb the disturbing increase in traffic related deaths that culminated in 2021, but now is not the time to turn on cruise control when it comes to road safety.”

Specifically, the senators requested NHTSA to provide a written update on its progress in implementing ten safety provisions secured in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law:

  1. Recall Completion (Sec. 24202), which directs NHTSA to publish an annual list of recall completion rates;
  2. Motor Vehicle Seatback Safety Standards (Sec. 24204), which directs NHTSA to issue an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking to update Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 207 regarding seatback safety standards;
  3. Automatic Shutoff (Sec. 24505), which directs NHTSA to issue a final rule to require manufacturers of vehicles with keyless ignitions to install a device that automatically shuts off the vehicle after it idles for a certain period;
  4. Crash Avoidance Technology (Sec. 24208), which directs NHTSA to issue minimum performance standards for crash avoidance technologies and to require all cars be equipped with a forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking system as well as a lane departure warning and lane keeping assist system;
  5. Reduction in Driver Distraction (Sec. 24209), which directs NHTSA to conduct research on driver monitoring systems to reduce driver distraction and driver disengagement;
  6. Headlamps (Sec. 24212), which directs NHTSA to issue a final rule amending Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108 regarding performance-based standards for vehicle headlamps;
  7. Hood and Bumper Standards (Sec. 24214), which directs NHTSA to request comment on potential updates to hood and bumper standards;
  8. Early Warning Reporting (Sec. 24216), which directs NHTSA to conduct a study on existing requirements for manufacturers to report information and data to help identify potential safety issues;
  9. Advanced Impaired Driver Technology (Sec. 24220), which directs NHTSA to issue a final rule requiring new vehicles be equipped with impaired driving prevention technology; and,
  10. Child Safety (Sec. 24222), which directs NHTSA to issue a final rule requiring new cars be equipped with a system to alert the driver to check rear seats after the engine is turned off.

The letter was led by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). Along with Wyden, the letter was also signed by U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.).

The text of the letter is here.