While Pennsylvania residents stayed home last year, there was actually an increase in car accidents. Despite stay-at-home orders, car accident fatalities in the U.S. rose to the highest level seen since 2007. There was also a 10.5% increase in motor vehicle accidents in the first quarter of 2021 when compared to the first quarter of 2020.
Stalled auto safety regulations blamed for car accidents
Congress is stalling many auto safety regulations that safety advocates promote and automakers support. Pending safety rules that were signed into law nearly a decade ago still haven’t been implemented. Bureaucracy, not opposition, is what many safety advocates say is causing the stalls.
Seat belt law from 2012
A 2012 law concerning passenger seat belts has still not been implemented. The law requires car manufacturers to make seat belt warnings for rear seats standard in all vehicles. Though they had three years to implement the rule, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, has still not acted on it.
Safety advocates warn that stalled rules, like the seat belt warning law, are contributing to more fatal auto accidents. In 2020, more than half of traffic fatalities were vehicle occupants that weren’t wearing seat belts. Teenage vehicle occupants often forget to keep their seat belts fastened, but a warning sound could certainly remind them.
Some car manufacturers aren’t waiting for regulators to act
There is some good news. Car manufacturers are already implementing many of the stalled auto safety regulations voluntarily. For example, 10 car companies have already made automatic emergency braking a standard feature in most of their vehicles. There is also strong industry support for car headlights that automatically adjust their intensity for oncoming traffic. Since car accidents are so prevalent, safety features like these are often a selling point that customers look for.