US Auto-Safety Bill recommends mandating event-data recorders

A U.S. House committee has passed a sweeping auto-safety bill with a number of changes in the original legislation that had been sought by the auto industry and Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich.

The new House Energy and Commerce Committee bill, which now goes to the floor of the House, would require installation of brake-override systems and event-data recorders, or black boxes, in the wake of Toyota’s unintended acceleration problems.

Regulators also would have to consider standards for foot-pedal placement, electronic systems, push-button ignition systems and transmission configuration.

The bill leaves it to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to decide on the timetable for industry to carry out many of the requirements. The original legislation outlined a time frame that automakers said was burdensome.

The committee also dropped a requirement that black boxes record crash data for 75 seconds, leaving it to NHTSA to decide on the technology provisions.

In addition, the legislation would increase maximum fines on automakers for safety defects from $16.4 million to $200 million — amending an earlier version of the bill that would have eliminated a cap on penalties.

John Dingell said, “The bill is going to be a hard one for the industry to accept, but I believe it’s in the public interest and is good overall.”

In a related development, Honda Motor Co. today formally announced plans to install brake-override technology in Honda and Acura models.

“We are committed to applying brake priority logic on 100 percent of Honda and Acura passenger vehicles produced for the North American market by the end of calendar year 2011, with our first application coming to market in late August 2010,” Honda said in a statement.

Courtesy: Automotive News.

Image courtesy: The Truth About Cars.

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