Appearing before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce  during the hearing “Legislation to Make Cars in America  Safer,” Cathy Chase, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety(Advocates), testified this week on the urgent need to pass the Hot cars Act of 2019(discussed in our 7-4-19 column), as well as to swiftly implement countermeasures to reduce impaired driving and improve vehicle safety.
Chase told Congress: “Steps can,and must,be taken to protect children from tragic heatstroke accidents in cars, to curb the dangers associated with keyless ignition systems, and to reduce impaired driving. We are here today because people are not infallible. We are, however, inventive.  And there are current proven solutions to these issues.”
She also said, “Technology is available now that can detect the presence of a child in a vehicle and alert drivers and caregivers.”
Advocates, and other consumer and health organizations, as well as The Rockland County Times, though this column, have led efforts to pass a new rule requiring a detection and alert system that can prevent heatstroke deaths of children unknowingly left in vehicles. The issue of problems with a “keyless ignition” will be addressed by the proposed PARK IT ACT which was created to prevent the tragic occurrence  of carbon monoxide poisoning in a car running in a garage.
This is the result of a design flaw that has existed with keyless ignitions since they were first introduced in 2006 and has gone uncorrected by both the auto industry and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) since that time. The real shame shared by the auto industry and the NHTSA is that this flaw can be fixed at a low cost with readily available technology. Thus, the PARK IT ACT must be passed without further delay!
The next issue to be addressed is that of impaired driving, which can be prevented by the introduction of the “Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety” (DADSS). This technology needs to be standard in all new new vehicles according to US Representative Dingell (D-MI).
Finally, there are advanced safety features that have shown to be very effective at helping drivers avoid crashes and should be mandated in all new vehicles, not just in those being sold as luxury cars, according to Rep. Robin Kelly(D-IL) who went on to say that “Automatic Emergency Brakes are not the same as leather seats.” and has sponsored legislation mandating these advanced safety features as standard equipment in all new vehicles.
NOTE – The tragic deaths of one-year-old twins from New City just last week underscores the vital need for the passage of the Hot Cars Act(H.R.3593), so that our community, as well as all other communities, will never have to learn of such a tragedy in the future!
The Ombudsman Alert encourages all of our readers to urge our federal representatives, including Congresswoman nNta Lowey to support all the auto legislation discussed in this column.
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