Sen. Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat who has been advocating for more auto safety legislation, said that variations of bills he has introduced are included in the package, including ones related to seat-back failure, distracted driving and recalls, but he will still be pushing for more.
“We must still fight to improve this bill before it becomes law,” Markey said. “That’s why I will be offering several amendments to strengthen my existing safety provisions and remove dangerous proposals that could undermine some of the rules we already have on the books.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, said the safety provisions in the infrastructure bill “will help end dangerous and deadly carbon monoxide poisonings, and make important strides to address tragic hot car deaths and dangerous rollaway incidents.”
The measure “will also help bolster car seatback standards, and improve auto recalls and driver-assistance systems,” Blumenthal said. He promised to “fight to strengthen these measures during the amendment process, and push to remove harmful teen truck driver and hours-of-service exemption provisions that would make trucking more dangerous to boost safety on our roads.”
Any changes to the bill will be difficult and require broad agreement. Amendments will need 60 votes to pass.
Cathy Chase, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, said it is important for Congress to address auto safety, but she said she wishes the bipartisan infrastructure measure would have gone even further.
“The past year-and-a-half has been exceptionally deadly for motorists and other road users,” Chase said in a statement. “This alarming fatal upward trend must be met with the advancement of available, game-changing safety technologies and other upgrades.”
Levine, the Center for Auto Safety director, agreed lawmakers should do more in addition to passing the safety provisions that are included in the Senate’s infrastructure bill.
“We are looking forward to a robust legislative process, that includes the House of Representatives, which provides as much safety as possible for every driver, passenger, and pedestrian in America,” he said.