U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Moves Forward with Proposals That Will Inevitably Lead to More Auto Accidents
In April, the U.S. Department of Transportation‘s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a decision that will ultimately allow carmakers to bypass safety rules, leading to a higher risk of crashes and deaths on our roads each year. Specifically, the agency is no longer going to ensure that vehicle manufacturers who are applying for exemptions from auto safety standards have provided the specific, required information under the law that they always have before releasing applications for public comment.
For over 40 years, the existing process has helped to protect public safety. However, the agency’s proposal is expected to have an especially strong impact as autonomous vehicles are deployed, invariably allowing unregulated and untested driverless cars on public streets even though they have already caused a number of auto accidents, injuries, and deaths, just in the testing phase. Indeed, in March, the NHTSA announced that it was proposing drastic changes to U.S. safety requirements related to self-driving vehicles in order to get them out on the roads more quickly. Specifically, the agency plans to rewrite 11 safety standards that require manual control and relate to child restraint anchorage systems, door locks, glazing materials, occupant protection, roof crush resistance, steering controls, seating systems, and side impact protection.
All Evidence Indicates That Car Features Which Do Not Meet Safety Standards Will Move Forward While Hidden from The Public
The Department of Transportation has indicated that, under the proposal to revise the rules, cars that drive themselves would also feature a number of other differences from regular cars that have not been tested for safety, such as seating arrangements that allow for passengers to face each other. Meanwhile, companies like GM have already sought waivers from the agency to deploy thousands of cars on U.S. roads that do not have steering wheels or other human controls, and one vehicle startup known as Nuro Inc. has already deployed 5,000 low-speed electric vehicles that are lacking in human controls, such as steering wheels and mirrors.
As a result of the agency’s latest decision to allow manufacturers to move forward without providing full and complete information about safety exemptions to the public, consumer safety groups have indicated concerns that the public will not be able to provide well-informed input as a result, and potentially dangerous safety lapses will not be fully vetted. Some have likened it to requiring a doctor to make a diagnosis without first allowing them to perform a complete physical exam. There is no question that, as a result, incomplete applications will move forward for exemptions from critical federal safety standards.
If You Have Been Harmed In An Auto Accident In Texas, Contact Our Attorneys For Help
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident due to negligence, contact the Houston auto accident attorneys at The West Law Office today to find out how we can help.