The number of vehicle deaths in the US has fallen since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was created in 1966, even as the number of drivers on the road has greatly increased and the number of miles they drive has increased exponentially more. But a Senate panel is debating whether NHTSA is moving fast enough to curb vehicle deaths, The Detroit News reports.

NHTSA "has effectively given up on rule making unless specifically required by statute, focusing instead on its statutory power to force the recall of motor vehicles that contain 'defects' related to safety performance," says Thomas McGarity, a University of Texas law school professor. This creates policy gradually, but doesn't do it proactively.

A big reason NHTSA has given up on proactive rule making is the tenacity with which automakers fight safety regulations. In recent years, regulations ordered by congress have been significantly delayed, according to The Detroit News. Take the rear-view camera legislation that was passed by Congress in 2008: those cameras still don't come on every car, but NHTSA says 100 children under age 5 continue to be killed per year in backup crashes.

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) reportedly says that NHTSA "had to do by recall what it should have been able to do by rule," because of safety regulation delays. He says rules "were suggested to NHTSA by automobile safety advocates but went nowhere, only to come up again when defective automobiles have had to be removed from the road."


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  • 40 Comments
      Joe
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's not the governments job to regulate us into submission...that's a dictatorship! Every car should come with a backup camera, the government should encourage, motivate and inspire progress but they should not regulate our every move. Kids don't die because the governments not doing enough they die because people are irresponsible, there is no way the government can protect everyone without completely compelling us in all things.
      Randy Perkins
      • 1 Year Ago
      Was talking about this and work....and a women said "If we get these cameras in all cars I wont have to look around" ........"Great" I thought.
        Seal Rchin
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Randy Perkins
        But you missing the point here, when you turn around your view is blocked by pillars B pillars to the side and very thick C pillars, front and rear headrests and the rear trunk, plus you are sitting in a very uncomfortable position. Camera fundamentally has a better view because of where it is positioned. Just to exaggerate here a little, imagine you can reap off your head and put it on the rear truck, do you not see how you would get a better view from there?
          Joe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Seal Rchin
          It sounds like the lack of visibility is a direct result of current safety regulations and testing. The pillar thickness to strengthen the roof and head rests to protect the occupant. The car is safer in an accident, but the driver's situational awareness makes accidents more likely. Location of the eyes/camera (truck or cabin) is only one variable. Eyes see in stereo, have a wider field of view, and the act of driving through a camera is an unusual way of driving (unless you fly a Predator). If one's view could be perfectly simulated at the trunk, then yes, it would be better. Otherwise, there are tradeoffs, and depending on the individual driver, it may not be better.
          Seal Rchin
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Seal Rchin
          As far as what causes think pillars that is a moot point, they are there, they are staying put so you have to deal with that. Also you do not drive thru the camera, we talking about simply reversing here, as in moving out of a parking space or parking the car. Bottom line is it is yet another tool for you to use. Look people are getting killed and Congress created NHTSA to prevent that, either there will be a camera or at some point self parking or reversing sensors will be mandated.
          jtav2002
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Seal Rchin
          It doesn't matter how the car is designed, if a kid is crawling behind your vehicle, no amount of looking over your shoulder or mirrors allows you to see that.
      iggyj
      • 1 Year Ago
      how about spending more money improving driving tests, rather than making car makers have to create sensors to aid idiots that shouldn't be on the road in the first place...
      RGT881
      • 1 Year Ago
      These politicians are such f***ing idiots...not to mention unethical. Russian politicians are unethical, but at least they know what they're doing.
      bmoney
      • 1 Year Ago
      You can't fix Stupid.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        • 1 Year Ago
        [blocked]
        Seal Rchin
        • 1 Year Ago
        Also could be that there will be no need for the camera 5 years from now as probably most cars will come with auto parking feature. You can get that on a loaded Focus now, so you figure it will be standard in a few years on even cheaper cars.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Seal Rchin
          [blocked]
      Joe
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think they should require all children operating out doors to wear flashing lights, safety vests, helmets and sirens. That way I might stop hitting them with the lawn mower too. Pogo sticks might help, so we can see their heads bobbing up in the back window. It really is about time we start regulating children's behavior. Don't get me started on children screaming in restaurants!
      Jake
      • 1 Year Ago
      I am so tired of accidentally backing over dead bodies.
      Krazeecain
      • 1 Year Ago
      No, the NHTSA needs to slow down... like a lot... in fact they need to back up a bit. Safety regulations are already ridiculous right now!
      Joe
      • 1 Year Ago
      What's shocking is there's no discussion about mandatory breathalyzers on the car ignitions. Drunk driving has been a nationwide obsession for 30 years now. Considering how much money is spent by the tax payer on DUI enforcement and prosecution it would probably be a net savings to the tax payer.
        Pj Taintz
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Joe
        sorry but im not jumping through hoops to drive my car because XX people are flipping retarded
      Peter Foglia
      • 1 Year Ago
      How about a little more \"personal responsibility\" or have we already given in to the Nanny State?
      ELG
      • 1 Year Ago
      thats EXACTLY what the world needs, more LAWS
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