Center for Auto Safety Statement Regarding NHTSA Oversight Hearings on June 19 and 20

For Immediate Release
June 19, 2019
Contact: Jason Levine, jlevine@autosafety.org or 202-328-7700

Center for Auto Safety Statement Regarding NHTSA Oversight Hearings on June 19 and 20
Senate and House Committees Call Deputy Administrator King to Testify

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced that pedestrian, bicyclist, and truck deaths are on the rise for a third straight year. Tragically, over 6,000 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2018. The Center for Auto Safety, founded in 1970, is an independent, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy not only for our members, but everyone on the road across the county.

This week, NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King will be appearing before Senate and House committees, testifying on issues ranging from a potential highway bill to fuel economy standards. Ms. King is likely to cite a projected 1% drop in estimated car crash related deaths in 2018. She is less likely to mention that 700 Americans are expected to die this week as a result of car crashes on public roads.

It is time for the leadership of the Department of Transportation (DOT) and NHTSA to act like public servants and implement the life-saving rules mandated by Congress that are currently collecting dust. Rules requiring rear seat belt reminders, bus anti-ejection protocols, electronic recall notifications, and making corporate officers take responsibility for the reports their companies submit have all been disregarded while special liaisons for family favors get installed, recalls get ignored, and life-saving and popular fuel economy standards are irrationally attacked.

During her testimony today and tomorrow, it would be refreshing to hear about the progress of NHTSA’s performance standard mandating automatic emergency braking (AEB) for all new vehicles; to learn the expected release date of updated 5-star crash ratings designed to encourage pedestrian detection and protection innovations; and to discover how NHTSA ordered the recall of millions of Kia and Hyundai vehicles which catch on fire even when not crashing into anything. Regrettably, Ms. King cannot provide such details on any of those topics because none of them have progressed under her watch.

This week, our Senators and Representatives in Congress will be standing in the shoes of all Americans when they conduct these oversight hearings. The time for standing still and patiently waiting for the light to change when it comes to auto safety is over.  If NHTSA and DOT continue to try and stall on safety Congress should mandate moving forward.

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Over the last 49 years, the Center for Auto Safety has successfully led the fight for lemon laws in every state, airbags in every vehicle, and recall repairs being made at no cost to the consumer. The Center is a membership-driven organization headquartered in Washington, DC and is also home to the Safe Climate Campaign which fights global warming by working for big, specific measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Center publishes TheCarBook.com, which has for the last 39 years been America’s most comprehensive car buying guide and now offers, exclusively for members, the monthly Safety Tune-Up Report, for regular alerts on safety issues relating to their cars. To learn more about the Center, please visit www.AutoSafety.org.