New Legislation Focuses on Improving Car Safety

Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers discuss new legislation aimed at improving car safety.Between 2017 and 2018, there were over 40,000 fatalities in the United States that were caused by motor vehicle accidents. As a result, there have been several bills proposed that focus on ways to improve car safety, from automatic shutoff technology to efforts that address impaired driving. The House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce held a hearing last month that focused on these proposed bills. During the hearing, Subcommittee members questioned witnesses about certain aspects of the bills and how they would improve car safety. The four proposed bills included the following:

  • Hot Cars Act of 2019: This bill would require the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) to issue a final rule within two years on requiring alert and detection systems for occupants remaining in rear seats after a vehicle is shut off.
  • Protecting Americans from the Risks of Keyless Ignition Technology (PARK IT) Act: This bill would require the USDOT to issue a final rule within two years on requiring an automatic shutoff after prolonged idling for keyless vehicles.
  • R. 3888: This bill would direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to study impaired driving and provide reports on proposed safety improvements twice a year.
  • R. 3890: This bill would authorize USDOT to fund grants for pilot programs, projects, and solutions to improve safety by addressing impaired driving.

Regarding the Hot Cars Act, and whether a detection and alert system technology was warranted, one advocate pointed out that current alerts are insufficient because car owners often ignore them. By pairing the detection system with a mobile application, car owners are more likely to respond to the alert. When questioned about why the NHTSA has not yet made a final rule on the issue, advocates responded by explaining that the Hot Cars Act and PARK IT do not have individual technological mandates. Rather than mandating a device, they should use performance measures.

Questions About Impaired Driving

Most of the questions about impaired driving focused on prescription opioids, marijuana, and other prescription medications. When asked about the need to study drug impairment, some of the difficulties with current data and reporting was discussed. For example, the fatality analysis reporting system lacks uniformity on reporting requirements between states, which makes it difficult to compare data. Advocates also addressed the importance of certain safety features, such as automatic emergency braking (AEB), which does not come standard in many vehicles. Car companies make money by selling them as premium upgrades, when they should be standard in all new vehicles. It improves safety for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians by reducing the number of collisions.

Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Car Accident Victims

If you were injured in a car accident, contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Our skilled legal team will determine who is responsible for causing the accident and secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.