More Safety Equipment in New Cars Mandated by Law

Dec 8, 2020 3:15 PM ET

iCrowdNewswire   Dec 8, 2020  10:15 AM ET

During July, the House of Representatives passed a massive transportation and infrastructure bill addressing issues like energy efficiency, public transportation, and funding for driver safety. Passed by the Democratic majority, the bill H.R. 2, or otherwise known as the Moving Forward Act, is seen as a great step forward in roadway safety by focusing on existing and new possibilities for infrastructure.

This transformational investment into the country’s transportation infrastructure is set to generate millions of jobs in the coming years if it is passed by the Senate. By addressing disparities in urban, suburban, and rural communities, the more than $1.5 trillion-dollar proposal hopes to rebuild the country in ways that last and prioritize safety for years to come.

To continue the commitment to safety that will last, H.R. 2 includes mandates for multiple new safety features on millions of new cars, trucks, and SUV’s to protect the passengers in a car and other drivers who may share the road.

While many are excited to see the rollout of these safety features in new models of automobiles, others are quick to bring alarm to the price tag attached. One of the biggest issues some see with the new bill is the increase in price due to the required addition of new technology. Some worry that this uptick in price may deter users from buying U.S.-made cars or newer cars in general, instead opting for older, cheaper, and sometimes more dangerous cars that fit within their price range.

As the bill is hopefully set into motion in the coming months with its approval in the Senate, many anticipate the much-needed adjustments to have serious and beneficial impacts on communities around the nation, whether that be increased car safety or overall improvements in transportation infrastructure.

What The Moving Forward Act Proposes

Bill H.R. 2 includes more than 2,300 pages of legislation looking at a wide variety of topics like healthcare, transportation, and other industries. One of the highly anticipated areas of improvement under this bill are the mandated safety measures in new vehicles.

“Automakers have worked for decades on improving the safety of cars, whether they be smaller smart cars or larger SUV’s,” said attorney Robert Marcus of Marcus & Mack. “New safety equipment and measures have evolved over the years and now lawmakers are pushing to have them required in newer models of vehicles as well they should. Safety should not be optional!”

While the bill includes many examples of improved car safety, there are four main areas that the new piece of legislation hopes to improve upon.

Prevent Children Dying in Hot Cars

One of the proposed features is a safety device to warn car owners if a child or pet is trapped in their vehicle. Many organizations have pushed for years for legislation to reduce the rising number of child deaths in hot cars. In fact, 2018 and 2019 saw some of the highest child deaths in hot cars despite increased education on the matter.

Automakers already offer technology as an optional addition to a vehicle that detects hot cars with children or pets inside. H.R. 2 would mandate that this feature is included in all new models.

Blind Spot Detection

Another mandate under H.R. 2 would require all new cars to have crash avoidance technology. Features like breaking when a vehicle senses approaching objects, alerting a driver about lane departures if they are swerving, and blind spot warnings when objects are sensed in hard-to-see spaces would all be required under this legislation.

Currently, these features are not offered in all vehicles on the market, rather only select automakers in the U.S. opt to include these components.

Keyless Ignition Safety

Many carbon monoxide deaths are reported by drivers who leave their vehicle running in a closed space, like a garage, after forgetting to turn off the car with keyless ignition. Under H.R. 2, a vehicle will be equipped with a sensor to automatically turn the engine off in a keyless ignition vehicle if it has been idling for an extended amount of time.

Not only will this feature potentially save the lives of many across the country, but it will also cut down on the greenhouse gas emissions a car creates if it is left running for too long.

Drunk Driving Sensor

This expansive bill will also address one of the deadliest problems for drivers on the road – drunk driving. Under this piece of legislation, new cars will include a sensor to detect if the driver is legally drunk. If a person is found with a high BAC level, then a signal would be sent to the vehicle’s engine and prevent it from starting, eliminating the risk of driving under the influence of alcohol.

What This Means for Consumers

Many of the mandates to vehicle safety included in the Moving Forward Act are newer technologies that are currently regarded as add-on features rather than automatically included in a car’s basic package. Some lawmakers and consumers see the bill as a way to increase the price of new cars by upwards of thousands of dollars past its normal selling point.

Some automakers support the idea of higher safety requirements, but also stress that the consumer should still have a choice in whether or not the feature is included in their new car. However, other safety advocates see this Congressional mandate as a way to prioritize public safety, something that is difficult to put a price tag on.

The bill is currently awaiting approval from the Senate, but many are optimistic that it will pass and lead to safer cars, safer roadways, and a conglomerate of other improvements.

Making Safer Roads

This piece of legislation is viewed as a long-awaited step towards improved vehicle safety. It is not always enough to offer the features for an additional price, but rather since the technology is available, many claim that it is in the best interest of all drivers to include it in newer models of cars, trucks, and SUVs.

However, no technology can replace the three pieces of tried and true advice for drivers: limit any distractions, stay aware of the car’s surroundings, and adhere to any applicable traffic laws.

When getting behind the wheel of a car, it’s imperative that a person tries to limit any distractions that may be in the car. This can be rowdy passengers, loud music, or the use of a handheld phone while driving. More serious distractions can come in the form of alcohol or drugs, so ensuring that a person is free of any substances that could inhibit their awareness is a necessity.

It is also important that a driver pays attention to their surroundings. If a person is driving in unfamiliar territory, it may be beneficial to pay extra care to speed limits or the road in front of them for their safety and the safety of other drivers. If driving at night, dawn, or dusk, a person may benefit from reduced speeds so that they maintain proper control of their vehicle in less visible situations.

Another thing to keep in mind when driving is to understand the traffic laws of that particular area. Understand the speed limits, the rules on what lanes are for passing only, and other traffic laws that may apply can help a driver be the safest they can for themselves, their passengers, and others who share the road.