Consumers who buy motor vehicles put their trust in manufacturers that the transports they purchase have the highest and most current standards of safety. However, their belief may be misguided based on the ever-growing list of proposed safety rules yet to be enacted.
The seemingly systemic failure is occurring in the shadow of a pandemic. Shut-downs spurred on by COVID-19 led to fewer cars on the road in 2020, but it also resulted in alarmingly more reckless driving. A troubling number of accidents injured and killed drivers and passengers.
Fewer miles, more accidents
While total miles driven declined significantly, close to 40,000 people died in traffic accidents during the 12-month period, the highest in 13 years. The new year seemed to start where 2020 left off with 8,730 deaths on roads throughout the U.S., representing a 10.5 percent increase from the same time period during the previous year.
Eliminating the regulatory backlog does not seem to be a priority. The list only grows as the regulatory process slows to a crawl. Firm deadlines are becoming suggestions, at the expense of motor vehicle consumers’ well-being and lives.
Safety rules are pending
Currently, the number of pending rules that are years overdue is at an unlucky 13. Much of the slowdown involves opposition from automotive industry personnel that pushes back on any mandates, using words such as “expensive,” “outdated,” and “restrictive.”
Government bureaucracy at the highest level played a significant role in the slowdown. One particular change involving commercial vehicles containing devices to limit speeds was placed on indefinite hold, as was medical evaluations for sleep apnea for commercial truck operators.
Other directives delayed include:
- Side-impact standards for children’s car seats
- Ten years of safety defect records mandatory for car manufacturers
- Anti-ejection solutions for larger buses
- Smart car headlight standards that would automatically adjust high beams when traffic approaches
Without immediate action, the problems will continue to mount, putting drivers at risk during a year that could set another record in injuries and deaths due to bureaucratic delays.