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DeWine’s Auto Safety Legislation a Major Step Forward

Jan. 23, 2004

DeWine’s Auto Safety Legislation a Major Step Forward


Statement of Joan Claybrook, President of Public Citizen


We applaud the safety measures introduced today by U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio). They are badly needed additions to the substantial provisions that are already in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Reauthorization Act, a measure pending before lawmakers now.

Senator DeWine’s proposals would take significant strides in making roads safer. His legislation would:

  • Provide important crash test information to the public when they go to buy a vehicle, thereby ensuring that consumers have the best possible safety information when they need it the most. Currently, only those who check the DOT Web site before heading to the dealership obtain information about safety ratings from taxpayer-funded government crash tests, greatly limiting the effectiveness of this information program.
  • Ensure that information about child injuries in crashes is collected and analyzed, and that a new child-sized dummy is created for increased testing of how rollover crashes injure children. This will help answer the critical questions raised in a Public Citizen report about the high death rates of children in rollover crashes. These measures are important because cars have never been built for children, yet millions ride in them daily.
  • Contain important measures to reduce the many tragic child deaths and injuries caused by power windows and backover accidents.
  • Improve teen driver education by providing strong support for graduated licensing programs in states and create a new office to disseminate information about the best practices in driver education.
  • Require a study of how tires age and require that the consumers buying tires be told when they were manufactured. NHTSA disregarded this issue when writing a new tire safety standard last year.

All these take substantial steps toward boosting safety and we are deeply grateful to the senator for his profound concern for the safety of those traveling on U.S. roads.