u.s. presses seat belt laws
Transportation Minister Elizabeth Hanford Dole said the government will require automakers to start equipping some cars with passive restraint devices by 1986, but if there are two in the StatesIn America\'s thirtiesS.
Laws on the use of compulsory seat belts have been enacted.
Dole\'s decision effectively overturned previous efforts by the Reagan administration to reduce regulation in the auto industry and gave up the passive restrictions that the Carter administration had drafted in 1977.
Carter stipulates that all new car airbags or seat belts will be automatically closed by September 1983.
By encouraging the use of seat belts, the decision will save lives immediately, Dole said.
But highway safety advocates claim the ruling will mean the death of airbags, with both the insurance industry and car importers immediately questioning Dole\'s decision to the court.
Joan klebrook, director of the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, led by President Carter, said Dole\'s rules \"make excuses for manufacturers to make safer cars.
Claybrook and other critics who want to force airbags argue that automakers will replace cheaper, less efficient safety devices, and hope that states will not have to impose all passive restrictions.
According to the rules announced by Dole, automakers must start to equip 10% of new passenger cars with devices such as air bags or auto-closing seat belts by September 1986. A phase-
According to the plan, by September 1987, 25% of new cars need passive collision protection. by September 1988, 40% of new cars need passive collision protection. By 1989, 1990 of models need passive collision protection for all cars.
The Supreme Court ruled last year that NHTSA, led by President Reagan, did not fully justify its refusal to the Carter bag rule.
The court ordered the agency to set aside the rule and put forward a better reason to kill it or replace it with a new regulation.
Dole\'s solution will change the original proposal to give automakers the option to replace airbags or passive seat belts with a \"new technology.
It says it can meet federal collision standards in some models with structural innovation, such as a broken Hood, a stronger padded dashboard and a foldable steering wheel.
The administrative plan means that there is no need for any form of passive restrictions if states adopt mandatory seat belt laws.
DOT will lobby for state security laws, said Dole.
The department will pay half of $40 million. a-
The annual education program encourages drivers to fasten their seat belts and urges the adoption of the seat belt law.
The New York state legislature recently passed the first such law nationwide and in the government.
Mario Cuomo is expected to announce today whether to sign the agreement.
The government will encourage automakers to use airbags or \"friendly interiors\" to calculate each vehicle with airbags as 1/2 vehicles per year, Dole said.
A car with an automatic seat belt can be counted as one.
Leading a tricky path through the White House\'s regulatory and political pressure against stricter car safety standards, Dole said her decision was based entirely on \"public interest \", \"will save as many lives as possible as soon as possible.
She said she hopes the seat belt legal campaign will lead to increased public demand and provide \"market incentives\" for systems that protect drivers and passengers, although they are reluctant to tighten their seat belts.
Only 12% of the population in the United StatesS.
The driver volunteered to use the belt, DOT said.
The department reported 37,800 fatal car accidents last year, with fewer than 2% of victims wearing seat belts.
According to a Gallup poll released on Sunday, 65% of respondents opposed a $50 fine for not wearing a seat belt.
After the announcement, state-owned farm mutual auto insurance company
The National Association of Independent Insurance companies filed a lawsuit with the Colombian Circuit Court of Appeals, questioning Dole\'s power to set federal standards based on state actions and demanding faster installation of automatic protection systems.
Later in the day, car importers from American companies
Filed a lawsuit in the Federal Court of San Francisco, questioning Dole\'s decision.
Claybrook, now the chairman of the consumer organization, said that automakers will choose not to use airbags and \"install cheaper systems\" because if there are enough states to pass the seat belt law, they \"don\'t want to invest in a technology that might be worthless.
In the next 10 years, airbags will save 9,000 lives each year and prevent 65,000 injuries, she said.
The car manufacturer believes that the airbag is too expensive, no seat belt is invalid in any case. Mercedes-
Mercedes-Benz in North America is the only company in the United States that offers airbags as an option, with a driver-only price of $880.
Ford Motor Company
Both companies supported the mandatory seat belt law and they were satisfied with the provision.
GM spokesman John Hartnett said safety belt laws \"will start saving lives immediately \".