Seatback safety standards that have not been updated in 50 years could be improved thanks to a four-bill package introduced by Sens. Edward Markey (D-Mass) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). The package, which also addresses safety investigations and auto recalls, earned the approval of auto safety groups such as the Center for Auto Safety.
Seatback safety standards would have to be updated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), should the Modernizing Seatback Safety Act pass.
During a collision, the front seats would fall back to minimize the impact on the front seat occupants.
However, if children are seated directly behind those front seats during a car crash, the seats could hit the children and cause injury or death.
Two bills could impact what information is made available to the public.
The first one, Promoting Auto Recalls Toward Safety (PARTS) Act, would enable the U.S. Department of Transportation to give grants to states for notifying drivers about safety recalls on their vehicles.
The other bill, Early Warning Reporting Systems Improvement Act, would push for automakers to give the NHTSA more information on deaths and injuries related to each car model. The NHTSA would then make this information available to the public.
The fourth bill in the package, the Stay Aware for Everyone (SAFE) Act, would require the DOT to study how driver-monitoring systems can prevent driver inattention and misuse of automation and driver-assist systems. Information gathered in this study would inform future legislation on driver-monitoring systems installed in new vehicles.