Proposed Motor Vehicle and Highway Safety Legislation Aims to Reduce Car Accidents in Chicago and Elsewhere

“Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for all Americans ages 5 to 34. And the annual highway death toll costs our nation over $230 billion a year,” said Jacqueline Gillan, vice president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. “Too many people are needlessly dying because states have been slow to enact laws to protect teen drivers, keep drunk drivers off our roads and ban the dangerous and deadly practice of texting while driving.”Democratic leaders of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation recently introduced legislation to improve the safety of motor vehicles, to advance traffic safety laws in states and to enhance consumer information, according to Automotive Industry Today. These measures are aimed at reducing the number of fatal car accidents in Chicago and elsewhere. The proposed law is sponsored by Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR), Senator John D. Rockefeller (D-WV). It would fund safety programs and activities of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the federal agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation responsible for auto and traffic safety.

Our Illinois car accident attorneys note the proposed law (the Motor Vehicle and Highway Safety Improvement Act of 2011 (MVHSIA), or Mariah’s Law) is named after an Arkansas teen killed in a traffic accident involving a texting driver. It aims to address teen driver licensing, improve motor vehicle safety standards, halt distracted and impaired driving, tighten up child passenger safety regulations and enact safety defect and consumer information reforms.

“As a parent and a lawmaker,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), “I want to take every reasonable safety precaution to ensure that our teen drivers are safe and well-prepared for the serious responsibility that comes with getting a license. This legislation will give young drivers better education and more experience before they get out on the roads, keeping us all safer and saving lives.”

This proposals include the Safe Teen And Novice Driver Uniform Protection (STANDUP) Act. This is the legislation, introduced by Senator Gillibrand and co-sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), that includes a $22 million grant program that will be used to encourage states to adopt a number of teen driving laws. The laws will phase in driving privileges as a teen gains more experience at the wheel. For a state to qualify for these grants, it would have to create and enforce laws that would restrict the number of teen passengers that a young driver drive ride with, initiate a ban on cell phone use and limit nighttime driving.

“As the mother of a teenager, I know firsthand how important it is to keep our roads safe,” said Senator Klobuchar. “These measures will provide states with effective guidelines to help ensure drivers’ safety and prevent risky behavior – especially among teen drivers. I will continue to fight to strengthen protection for drivers and make our roads safer for everyone.”

This bill would direct the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration to issue a standard that would ensure the reliability and performance of electronic systems that operate and control vital vehicle safety systems. It would also require the Administration to create some way for consumers to have better access to government information about recalls, defects and other safety-related data. This proposal comes after many lost faith in the current recall system — many consumers were never notified about malfunctions regarding their vehicle.

“This bill is about saving lives,” said Senator Mark Pryor, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance. “We’ve strengthened programs designed to stop dangerous driving behavior, and we’ve stepped up vehicle safety so that families are protected by strong safety standards and devices when an accident does occur.”

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, the personal injury attorneys and wrongful death lawyers at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.

More Blog Entries:

July & August — Deadliest Months for Teen Car Accident in Chicago and Elsewhere, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, July 29, 2011

New Study Aims to Stop Car Accidents in Chicago Before They Happen, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, July 27, 2011

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