Following Toyota recalls, lawmakers seek tougher safety measures


In the wake of the Toyota situation, chair of the Senate Commerce Committee Jay Rockefeller and chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Henry Waxman have announced that they will work together towards legislation to improve automobile safety.

Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said he plans to introduce a bill soon “that will hold automakers to a higher standard and strengthen the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s ability to more effectively protect Americans on the road.”

No specifics have been addressed by either legislator or their respective staffs, and neither responded immediately to requests for comment. Last month however, Rockefeller did call for legislation that would tighten the 2000 federal law requiring more disclosure about safety-defect information, and said that the legislation ought to require that carmakers provide the computers necessary to read black box data.

Another expected to be addressed by the pair is the revolving door between government and industry, as former NHTSA employees (and their network of connections) went to work for Toyota after their stint in public service. The idea of revolving-door legislation was publicly addressed by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

For failure to notify U.S. regulators of safety issues on a timely manner, Toyota agreed thus month to pay a fine of $16.4 million; the largest ever assessed for a safety defect.

-By: Stephen Calogera

Source: Automotive News