Legislation drafted by House committee representatives Henry Waxman and Bobby Rush is one of the biggest overhauls of federal motor vehicle safety regulations in over a decade. The bill, called the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010, hopes to reshape auto safety regulations and significantly boost potential fines against automakers for violation of safety laws. The installation of black boxes (also known as event data recorders) and brake override systems are only a couple of the half a dozen new safety standard rules that will be included.
Removal of the existing $16.4 million cap on civil penalties, raising individual violation fines from $6,000 to $25,000, a $250 million fine for executive who knowingly provide false information, and a new tax of $9 per new vehicle after three years to help fund the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and some of the new requirements of the law, are sure to face opposition from automakers.
Beyond fines and taxes, the bill would dramatically overhaul the federal government’s ability to oversee rapidly advancing electronics technology by creating a center for vehicle electronics and emerging technologies.
The proposed law will be introduced in a hearing on May 6 by the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on commerce, trade and consumer protection.