In the wake of investigations over the General Motors ignition switch recall, a new Senate bill would enact a small fee on new cars to provide more funding for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Senator John D. Rockefeller (D-W.V.) introduced a version of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2014 that is meant to increase NHTSA's ability to investigate and prevent safety defects. Rockefeller specifically cited the GM ignition switch recall as a cause for concern, and says his bill would prevent similar problems in the future.
"If NHTSA doesn’t have the resources or capabilities to protect the driving public and fulfill its mission, then Congress must step in and give this agency what it needs to meet these critically important goals," Rockefeller said in a statement. "We’ve got to act now and support NHTSA if we’re going to minimize the chances of another heartbreaking tragedy."
According to Automotive News, NHTSA would receive extra funding by way of fees that automakers would pay for every new car sold. In the first year of the bill, that fee would be $3, rising to $6 in the second year and $9 in the third year. After that, the fee would be tied to inflation.
Rockefeller's bill would also give NHTSA more leeway to impose fines on automakers over recalls, prevent dealers from selling cars that have not received recall fixes, and require that automakers make "early warning" reports about potential safety issues available to the public.