WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Sen. John D. Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, and Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), recently introduced a bill in the Senate titled the Motor Vehicle and Highway Safety Improvement Act of 2011.
The bill touches on several issues relevant to the collision industry, according to the Automotive Service Association (ASA), including broadening the authority of the secretary of transportation to:
Conduct motor vehicle safety research, development and testing programs and activities, including new and emerging technologies that impact or may impact motor vehicle safety;
Collect and analyze all types of motor vehicle and highway safety data and related information to determine the relationship between motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment performance characteristics.
The legislation requires that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) conduct a Study of Crash Data Collection and report, after one year, to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, on the quality of data collected through the National Automotive Sampling System, including the Special Crash Investigations Program. The administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will then conduct a comprehensive review of the data elements collected from each crash to determine if additional data should be collected. This review will include input from interested parties, including suppliers, automakers, safety advocates, the medical community and research organizations.
Another section, titled “NHTSA Electronics, Software and Engineering Expertise,” discusses efforts to further explore green methods. This will include a council to research the inclusion of emerging lightweight plastic and composite technologies in motor vehicles to increase fuel efficiency, lower emissions, meet fuel economy standards and enhance passenger motor vehicle safety through continued use of the administration’s Plastic and Composite Intensive Vehicle Safety Roadmap.
Finally, the bill requires that “Vehicle Event Data Recorders” include information regarding vehicle data recorders and privacy provisions specifications. Beginning with model year 2015, new passenger motor vehicles sold in the United States are to be equipped with a vehicle event data recorder. The language includes that any data in an event data recorder, regardless of when the passenger motor vehicle in which it is installed was manufactured, is the property of the owner or lessee of the passenger motor vehicle in which the data recorder is installed. It also states that data recorded or transmitted by such a data recorder may not be retrieved by a person other than the owner or lessee of the motor vehicle unless:
a court authorizes retrieval of the information in furtherance of a legal proceeding,
the owner or lessee consents to the retrieval of the information for any purpose, including the purpose of diagnosing, servicing or repairing the motor vehicle,
the information is retrieved pursuant to an investigation or inspection authorized under section 30166 of title 49, United States Code, and the personally identifiable information of the owner, lessee or driver of the vehicle and the vehicle identification number is not disclosed in connection with the retrieved information,
or the information is retrieved for the purpose of determining the need for, or facilitating, emergency medical response in response to a motor vehicle crash.
To view the full text of this bill, visit ASA’s legislative website at www.TakingTheHill.com.