June 20, 2013
Press Release from Public Citizen and the Center for Effective Government

Administration’s Decision to Punt Key Auto Safety Rule Means More Preventable Child Deaths, Makes a Mockery of Congress’s Will

(Washington) – The U.S. Department of Transportation informed Congress today that the administration would be delaying a key auto safety rule. The rule, ordered by Congress, would require rear visibility technologies in new vehicles to avert backover deaths of individuals, particularly small children who cannot be seen directly behind a vehicle. In its proposed rule, the Department of Transportation had estimated that the measure would prevent 95 to 112 fatalities and 7,072 to 8,374 injuries each year.

Katherine McFate, president and CEO of the Center for Effective Government, said, “Congress passed this law to ensure children would not be needlessly killed. Five years after Congress ordered the Transportation Department to issue the rule, the administration is still stalling and American families are paying the price for this delay.”

Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, said, “The administration is making a mockery of the will of Congress. The transportation department sent its draft final rule to the White House more than a year and a half ago, and then it just disappeared. The so-called most transparent administration in history has held this rule in an obscure White House office for a year and a half, where the public can’t see what’s going on. Today’s announcement means that more children will be needlessly killed as we wait for the administration to finally comply with Congressional will.”

The Department of Transportation sent a draft final “rear visibility” rule to the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs on November 16, 2011, and it has remained under OIRA review since, according to OIRA’s website. President Obama reaffirmed President Clinton’s Executive Order 12,866, which limits OIRA review to 90 days, with a single 30-day extension possible. Presently, the White House is reviewing dozens of draft or final rules from federal agencies for more than the allowed 120 days.

The rear visibility rule was examined in a recent report by the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards (CSS) on eight stalled rules, Down the Regulatory Rabbit Hole: How Corporate Influence, Judicial Review and a Lack of Transparency Delay Crucial Rules and Harm the Public. The report is available at:

https://www.citizen.org/sites/default/files/down-the-regulatory-rabbit-hole.pdf

 

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