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Legislation has been introduced in Congress to strengthen the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and to mandate new automaker safety standards. A House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee is holding a hearing on the bill which was introduced in response to the massive number of recalled vehicles by the Toyota Motor Corp.

The legislation would require the NHTSA to establish new motor-vehicle safety standards related to electronics and unintended accelerations, such as a brake-override requirement. Event data recorders (“black boxes”) would eventually be required on all new vehicles. The maximum amount that can be imposed in civil penalties would be increased. The NHTSA would also have more money to fund agency programs, including a new department dedicated to vehicle electronics and emerging technologies.

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