Congress Fails to Pass “Motor Safety Vehicle Act of 2010”

For 9 months, proponents of the “Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010” tried to get Congress to pass the landmark legislation which would have overhauled automobile safety. Unfortunately, because of staunch opposition from automakers and despite a last minute push to get the Act passed, Congress failed to vote on it before it adjourned for the year.

As explained in this Detroit News article, the ground breaking legislation, if passed, would have enacted a number of important auto safety measures:

The bills would have required NHTSA to act to upgrade numerous auto safety standards and would have given NHTSA more power to get dangerous vehicles off the roads and higher fines to deter automakers.

The proposals would have allowed NHTSA to fine auto executives who submit false reports $5,000 per day or up to $5 million for a single recall and would have increased the maximum fine against automakers from $16.4 million per recall to $200 million. NHTSA would get new authority to order automakers to stop sales and order immediate recalls if it found “an imminent hazard of death or serious injury.”

The failure to pass this much-needed legislation is unfortunate and will no doubt result in unnecessary automobile accidents that could have been prevented by its enactment. The safety of automobile consumers should be the primary concern, and it’s perplexing when corporate interests in the bottom line trumps the safety of our citizens.

Hopefully similar legislation will be considered in 2011. Until then, consumers will have to be diligent in keeping on top of automobile recalls and will have to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of their family and loved ones, including contacting a personal injury attorney to protect their interests when an accident occurs that could have been prevented, had this Act passed.

Howard Ankin of Ankin Law ( handles workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 600-0000 and