With all of the significant challenges the nation is facing these days, it is perhaps not surprising that virtually no attention has been paid in Sarasota media to the recent introduction in Congress of four vehicle safety bills. Hopefully, the proposals for changes in distracted driving mitigation, seatback safety and auto recalls will gain news coverage in coming days.
The Center for Auto Safety and other consumer groups are backing the measures submitted by senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal. The legislative package includes four safety-focused pieces of legislation: the Stay Aware For Everyone Act of 2020 (SAFE Act), the Modernizing Seatback Safety Act of 2020, the Promoting Auto Recalls Toward Safety Act of 2020 (PARTS Act) and the Early Warning Reporting System Improvement Act of 2020.
No Florida lawmakers have yet signed on to the bills designed to reduce motor vehicle crashes and injuries, but safety activists hope that, too, will change in the near future.
Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, the “data-driven” proposals could help reduce the tens of thousands of road fatalities every year, along with the millions of serious injuries sustained in violent crashes.
Seatback failures occur when the force of a collision causes the front seat to collapse backwards. This happens most commonly in rear-end collisions. In seatback failures, passengers in the back seats (often children) can be hit by the back-ends of seats, resulting in severe injuries.
Front-seat passengers can also be badly injured in seatback failures, often hitting their heads on back-seat people or objects.
Common injuries in seatback failures can include:
- TBI (traumatic brain injury)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
There are also sometimes fatalities in seatback failures.
The proposed legislation would require automakers to upgrade seatback designs.
Diminishing driver distractions
The SAFE Act mandates research into driver monitoring systems so that driver distraction and complacency can be minimized as advances in driver-assist technologies continue. Research shows that the tech is increasingly involved in driver inattentiveness that results in car accidents.
The PARTS Act will make it easier for states to directly contact drivers of recalled vehicles in an effort to reduce the number of dangerously flawed autos that continue to be driven even after recalls.
The Early Warning Reporting System Improvement Act will provide a statutory update to the safety program requiring information submitted from manufacturers about injuries and fatalities.
Let’s hope that the media covers these proposals so that the public can weigh in on these driver-and-passenger safety measures get the consideration they merit.