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Consumer Reports: New House auto safety legislation ‘transformative and necessary’

CR calls on all members of Congress to support bill to require key life-saving systems on new cars


WASHINGTON — Consumer Reports today applauded the introduction of major auto safety legislation in the U.S. House as a part of a broader infrastructure package, H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act. CR said that the legislation, spearheaded by the Energy and Commerce Committee majority and two of its leaders, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), includes several measures needed to substantially reduce the toll of road crashes, which account for the deaths of at least 36,000 people and millions of injuries every year.


“Safety should never be treated as a luxury, yet automakers often make proven life-saving technologies available only as premium options. It’s time to put an end to that,” said William Wallace, manager of safety policy for Consumer Reports. “Just as the law requires effective seat belts and air bags, the House’s new bill would require every new car to come standard with features like automatic emergency braking and blind spot warning, and they’d have to meet minimum performance standards. This would improve safety for everyone on our roads.”


Research by Consumer Reports recently found that vehicle buyers often must pay thousands of dollars extra for life-saving technology that should come standard. Despite clear safety benefits, CR found that blind spot warning and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection frequently come only with the purchase of a package of premium options, such as heated seats or larger wheels, which often costs more than $2,000—and, in one case, more than $15,000.


In addition to requiring advanced safety systems on all new cars, the motor vehicle safety title in H.R. 2 would greatly strengthen the five-star new car safety ratings program, help prevent child heatstroke deaths in cars, and improve safety in cars with keyless ignitions, among other steps.


“Congress should pass this transformative and necessary legislation. It is unacceptable that more than 36,000 people die on our roads every year. Lawmakers have the power to put us on a path to zero. To get there, it will be critical for auto safety innovations to benefit everyone—not just those who can afford expensive add-ons,” Wallace added.




Contact: David Butler, 202-579-7935, david.butler@consumer.org


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Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit membership organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. For 80 years, CR has provided evidence-based product testing and ratings, rigorous research, hard-hitting investigative journalism, public education, and steadfast policy action on behalf of consumers’ interests. Unconstrained by advertising or other commercial influences, CR has exposed landmark public health and safety issues and strives to be a catalyst for pro-consumer changes in the marketplace. From championing responsible auto safety standards, to winning food and water protections, to enhancing healthcare quality, to fighting back against predatory lenders in the financial markets, Consumer Reports has always been on the front lines, raising the voices of consumers.