Op-Eds

Upton in USA TODAY: Safety Provisions Protect the Public

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Washington, December 4, 2015 | comments

Yesterday the House of Representatives voted to improve the nation’s ailing transportation infrastructure, improve vehicle safety, and ensure America’s energy security. Ahead of the vote on the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, Congressman Upton took to USA TODAY to highlight the important safety provisions included in the legislation and what they mean for drivers in Southwest Michigan and across the country.

You can read the piece below.

December 3, 2015

 

Safety Provisions Protect the Public

The vote on the highway measure will advance reforms in a must-pass package

 

By Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI)

 

No one understands better the importance of putting safe vehicles on the road than those of us in the auto state. For over a century, Michigan has had a proud tradition of developing innovative technologies, advancing safety, reducing emissions and improving the driving experience.

But it has been a disappointing year for automakers that have failed in their safety responsibilities and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for its inability to effectively protect American drivers. We can and must do better.

I authored the TREAD Act, which toughened industry’s safety reporting requirements following the Ford-Firestone mess in 2000, when Ford Explorers with Firestone tires rolled over and killed more than 200 people. The safety provisions in the highway bill, scheduled for a vote this week, build on the TREAD Act successes and are another step forward to protect drivers.

The highway bill includes more than 30 provisions improving the auto safety recall process, reforming NHTSA, increasing accountability for automakers and providing resources to NHTSA to make needed improvements.

By reforming recall processes, as the agency’s own inspector general recommended, NHTSA can better identify and remedy safety issues. We also increase the agency’s budget so it has the resources it needs. Increased fines, corporate responsibility and whistle-blower protections improve transparency so that consumers will know that safety problems will be discovered and remedied in a timely fashion.

The vote this week will advance safety reforms in a must-pass package. But the highway bill is not the end of the conversation; rather, it is an important step forward. With the holiday season upon us, families across the country can rest assured that Congress continues to prioritize auto safety, and that those responsible for safety issues will be held accountable.

I am proud of the improvements we were able to add to the bill. But we never put the brakes on safety, and we will continue our bipartisan work in the New Year.

Read the column online here.

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