The United States Senate passed its version of legislation to fund highway construction and other transportation projects for the next two years. SEMA supports the bill’s maintenance of current funding levels in order to address the nation’s aging infrastructure and provide states with more spending flexibility. The legislation also would dramatically increase fines for vehicle or equipment recalls and include mandates to address distracted driving, unintended acceleration and pedal placement, expand the availability of early warning data and require installation of event data recorders.
SEMA contends that current civil penalties are already higher than those imposed on manufacturers for many other types of consumer products and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is already addressing the other issues. The legislation has been sent to the House of Representatives, which is attempting to draft its own bill for a five-year plan. The draft bill currently does not include the auto safety provisions. The government’s authority to fund highway programs expires at the end of March. Congress is expected to pass a short-term extension while the House drafts its version of a bill.
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