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Federal Laws

Many people are unaware that nearly every safety feature that protect us in our vehicles today are the result of hard fought battles by safety advocates and others to require these features through Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS).

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) are a set of regulations established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to ensure the safety of vehicles and their occupants on U.S. roads. These standards outline specific requirements for the design, construction, and performance of various components of motor vehicles, including lighting, brakes, tires, airbags, and seat belts, among others. Overall, FMVSS play a critical role in ensuring the safety of motor vehicles and their occupants on U.S. roads. By setting minimum safety requirements, promoting uniformity, encouraging innovation, and regulating interstate commerce, FMVSS help protect the public and prevent motor vehicle crashes and their consequences.

Major Successes

Providing the leadership, strategy, determination and just plain hard work it takes to pass a Federal Law is the goal of many organizations. Child safety should be a bi-partisan issue, but with so many diverse agendas in play at the same time, it’s rare after years or even decades of unending efforts to be successful. Kids and Car Safety is quite unique in having been the driving force behind so many significant safety advances to keep all of America’s children safe.

Kids and Car Safety’s (KACS’s) data and leadership have been the basis for the following major successes;

PLEASE NOTE: These safety changes affect ALL vehicles sold or leased in the United States regardless of where they are made. 

  • Rearview Cameras: The stand-alone Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act was passed into law and signed by President Bush in February of 2008 requiring ALL vehicles sold or leased in the US to come with a rearview camera as standard equipment as of May, 2018. The number of reported backover incidents are beginning to decrease as more vehicles are purchased with rearview cameras. 
  • Safer “pull up to close” and “push down to open” power window switches have now been installed in all vehicles since October 2010. The dangerous rocker and toggle power window switches are no longer allowed. The number of power window strangulations and injuries have gone down drastically since the installation of these new safer window switches. (read the regulation)
  • Brake-to-shift-interlock: As of 2010, all vehicles with automatic transmissions are required to be equipped with a system that requires the brake pedal to be depressed before the car can be shifted out of park (brake-to-shift interlock). There has been a significant decrease in the number of children injured or killed from setting vehicles into motion.
  • Glow-in-the dark internal trunk release mechanisms are required inside the trunks of all vehicles model year 2002 or newer. There have not been any deaths in the trunk of a car that has an inside the trunk release. Zero. (read the regulation)
  • Nontraffic Data Collection: After decades of our government ignoring vehicle-related incidents that take place off public roads and highways, Kids and Car Safety was able to help pass a provision that requires the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to begin collecting data about incidents that take place on private property (mainly in parking lots or driveways). 

Pending federal bills:

  • The STOP Frontovers Act: A federal bill was introduced calling for technology in all vehicles that can prevent frontover tragedies and will be reintroduced this legislative session Learn more

Pending federal motor vehicle safety standards that have not yet been finalized:

  • Rear seat belt reminders are now required by law as a result of a provision passed in the 2012 Federal Transportation bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) but we await the regulation being finalized by the NHTSA to require rear seat belt reminders in all seating positions. (not just the front driver/passenger seats) Learn more
  • Hot Car Technology: A provision was passed in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) with a mandate for action by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) aimed at preventing hot car tragedies. Soon all new vehicles will come with technology to help prevent hot car deaths as standard equipment. KACS  is now working to ensure that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will issue the final rule due by November, 2023, without any delay and that the final rule will require occupant detection, a feature necessary to address the issue in a comprehensive manner.  Learn more
  • Automatic shut-off: A provision passed in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) mandates action by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to require a safety standard so all vehicles will automatically shut off if inadvertently left running. This risk has drastically increased in vehicles with keyless ignitions and can cause carbon monoxide to silently leak into a home killing the occupants.  Learn more
  • Regulatory Accountability Act & Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017 (REINS Act) – Learn more
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