Congress eyes far-reaching auto regulation

May 7, 2010 at 2:57 PM

WASHINGTON, May 7 (UPI) -- U.S. lawmakers are proposing a new set of far-reaching auto industry safety standards, including stronger stopping power and "black box" crash data recorders.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Sen. John Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., head of the Senate Commerce Committee, said they have prepared parallel bills proposing a framework for standards including recorders for crash data, and features allowing a car to stop even with the engine at full power, The New York Times reported Friday.

"Today's cars are more and more complex and the technology is growing more sophisticated," Rockefeller said. "We must make sure the safety and oversight of these vehicles advances, too."

Federal regulators said they would welcome new legislation simplifying the currently complicated process of mandating an auto recall.

"We want to be an agency that takes risks off the road as fast as we can," David Strickland, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said Thursday at Waxman's House subcommittee meeting. He said the agency will "wholeheartedly embrace" measures adopted by Congress.

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