Infrastructure bill includes crash test assessment

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(InvestigateTV / Gray DC) – The $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill to President Joe Biden’s office includes more than just upgrading roads – it will also ensure that all drivers on those roads are safe .

The bill requires the Government Accountability Office, a federal oversight agency, to prepare a report on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash testing protocols and practices within one year of the bill’s passage. of law.

The requirement was part of an amendment added by Michigan Democratic Senator Gary Peters and one of the a handful of legislative efforts by a bipartisan group of lawmakers to address what experts say is a disparity between male and female drivers behind the wheel.

Each year, NHTSA publishes 5-star safety ratings for new vehicles as part of its New Car Rating program.

InvestigateTV and Gray Television Washington News Bureau Investigation found that, according to data from the University of Virginia, female drivers are 73% more likely to be seriously injured and up to 20% more likely to be killed in a car crash. However, female dummies are not placed in the driver’s seat for testing of the two most common types of accidents in NHTSA’s new car program.

Additionally, the survey found that despite funding from NHTSA and commissioning research into more advanced crash test dummies that would better represent all drivers, but especially female drivers, the United States has fallen behind by compared to other countries in the implementation of this technology. The agency still uses mannequins based on technology developed in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

“If you look back to the early 1980s, the standards were set for the modern crash test dummy, but they’ve really stagnated since,” Chris O’Connor, CEO of Humanetics, said in an interview. in April for the first report.

Humanetics is one of the manufacturers of crash test dummies, including those currently used by NHTSA as well as the most recent models available on the market.

“There has been some progress, but not at the level one would expect for the amount of technology that has changed,” O’Connor said.

The required GAO report will examine the types of crash test dummies used by NHTSA, where these dummies are placed during testing, and how these factors contribute to the industry disparities that experts like O’Connor believe exist.

In addition, GAO will review NHTSA’s processes for evaluating and adopting new security technologies.

O’Connor told InvestigateTV during his interview that he believes there is no time to waste.

“We cannot wait three or four years to get a change,” he said. “There should be movement to get a change in place yesterday.”

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