Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2), advancing reasonable and cost-effective solutions to tackle the excessive number of motor vehicle fatalities and injuries that take place every day on our roads and highways.
We are extremely thankful for the dedicated and effective Congressional leaders who were so vital to ensure that safer vehicles will be available to all Americans. KidsAndCars.org applauds Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and, Representative Tim Ryan, (D-OH) along with the many sponsors of other safety provisions in the Moving Forward Act.
The Hot Cars Act (H.R. 3593) was included as part of the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2) and calls for a safety standard requiring that every new car be equipped with currently available technology that can detect a child trapped inside a hot car.
After 20 years of public education, the number of children dying in hot cars has gotten worse, not better. While public awareness of this issue is at an all-time high, so is the number of children dying. The last two years (2018 & 2019) were the worst years ever with over 100 babies and small children needlessly killed nationwide. Education and public awareness are not enough.
The auto industry attempted to claim victory at a press event yesterday by saying they will voluntarily add outdated and ineffective technology to vehicles. There is no way to enforce an industry "voluntary agreement" and no minimum performance requirements will be issued to ensure the safety and effectiveness of systems used.
Similar to how the dangerous issue of rear visibility was solved with a safety standard requiring rearview cameras in all new cars, detection technology would save countless lives and prevent even more injuries of very young children. Safety standards save lives.
Children will continue to die in hot cars until technological solutions that can detect the presence of a child inside are standard in all new vehicles.
The Moving Forward Act is the most recent in a long list of surface transportation reauthorization bills with a strong safety title. In 2019, approximately 39,000 people died in car crashes while over 4 million people were seriously injured. By utilizing available technologies, the majority of these tragic incidents could be prevented.
Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a significant piece of legislation that will make our roads and highways safer for all, if enacted into law. We implore the Senate to move forward with these reasonable, established safety improvements as quickly as possible.
Provisions in H.R. 2 include:
- Help to prevent hot car deaths by directing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to require vehicles be equipped with a system that detects the presence of a child or other occupants left unattended in a vehicle and issue warnings to prevent hot car deaths.
- Protect Americans from the risks of keyless ignition by requiring manufacturers to install technology that prevents carbon monoxide poisoning and vehicle rollaways in each motor vehicle equipped with a keyless ignition device.
- Establish minimum performance standards and require all new passenger motor vehicles to be equipped with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) such as automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning, blind spot warning and others, subject to a minimum performance standard.
- Requires booster seat manufacturers to provide clear warnings about a child’s recommended weight and age for the safe use of their product.
- Update the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) to require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to publish a biannual roadmap detailing efforts to update the program and direct the Secretary of Transportation to update or create new tests and ratings for crashworthiness features, crash avoidance systems, pedestrian safety, post-crash safety, and drunk driving prevention technology as well as mandate the Secretary to regularly update this program.
- Establishes crashworthiness standards to protect pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vulnerable road users.
- Stop drunk driving by directing NHTSA to prescribe a motor vehicle safety standard requiring passenger motor vehicles to be equipped with an advanced drunk driving prevention system that detects if the driver is intoxicated and prevents them from driving.
- Ensure limousine compliance with federal safety standards by requiring limousines to have safety belts and meet federal standards for seats and seat assemblies and closes a loophole allowing used vehicles to be converted into limousines without meeting federal safety standards, and more.