Senate fails to pass law to hold auto execs accountable for safety defects

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee pushed through some major amendments in an attempt to improve auto safety in the recent transportation renewal bill. However, several members wanted to see the revisions go even further. These stricter rules weren't accepted into the legislation, though.

Among the provisions that didn't go into the bill was the adoption of criminal penalties for auto execs who hide safety issues. All of the Republicans on the committee and three Democrats voted against it, according to The New York Times. An amendment to force used car dealers to repair recalls before a vehicle could be sold also failed. In addition, other motions by Democrats were retracted before a ballot could be cast. "Hiding these deadly defects with near impunity is what the industry has succeeded in doing," Senator Richard Blumenthal (pictured above) said about the revisions not being accepted, according to The New York Times.

What the committee did accept was an amendment to force rental car companies to repair recalls on their vehicles before handing the keys over to consumers. The members also increased funding for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and doubled the maximum punishments for automakers' violations. However, none of these changes are official, yet, and it's possible for amendments to still be added. According to The New York Times, the transportation bill is expected to get a vote from the whole Senate around the beginning of August. The legislation is considered a major opportunity to improve auto safety in the US.

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