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Paramedics and Firefighters Rescue Injured Trapped Victims from car accident
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Last month, the Associated Press reported on the failure of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue and enforce key safety requirements in a timely fashion, potentially resulting in preventable injuries and deaths.  A few examples of stalled or abandoned safety rules cited in the AP article include:

  • Rear seatbelt indicators due to be issued by 2015
  • Testing commercial truck drivers for sleep apnea
  • A decade-old directive to limit commercial truck speed
  • Child car seat standards due in 2014
  • And more…

The delays in issuing regulations range from bureaucratic hold ups, shifting policy goals of different administrations, and in some instances resistance from the auto industry and other stakeholders.

Whatever the cause for late rules, the timing could not be worse.  Traffic crash deaths have been on the rise since 2020, possibly due to an increase in reckless driving stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic.  According to estimates from the NHTSA, nearly 39,000 people died in traffic crashes last year – the most since 2007.  Tragically, 2021 in on pace to surpass that total with over 20,000 fatalities in the first half of the year alone.

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