FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 10, 2020
CONTACT: Pete Daniels / firstname.lastname@example.org / 301-442-2249 (C)
Statement of Cathy Chase, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, On New Booster Seat Safety Report
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) commends the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy for its investigation on booster seat safety. Today’s release of the Staff Report, “Booster Seat Manufacturers Give Parents Dangerous Advice: Misleading Claims, Meaningless Safety Testing, and Unsafe Recommendations to Parents About When They Can Transition Their Child from Car Seats to Booster Seats,” isn’t just another wakeup call – but rather it is a blaring alarm – for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA, Agency) to act with the utmost urgency to protect our most precious passengers. We thank Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) and Subcommittee Member Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) for their leadership in initiating this investigation.
The Agency’s own numbers show that in 2018 alone, over 400 children under the age of eight were killed in crashes while riding in a vehicle. Yet, a number of overdue rulemakings mandated by Congress nearly a decade ago that would improve child passenger safety remain unaddressed by NHTSA to this day. These include side and front impact requirements for child restraint systems, improved child Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) restraint systems, and rear seat belt reminders. This is especially concerning as the National Transportation Safety Board has included increasing child restraint use in motor vehicles in its 2019-2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements.
Continued delays and endless excuses from NHTSA for not acting on these and other advancements are unconscionable, unconceivable and unacceptable as children are needlessly dying in motor vehicle crashes and other tragedies. For example, between 2018 and 2019 over 100 children died as a result of being unknowingly left in a vehicle or accessing the vehicle independently and inadvertently trapping themselves inside despite the fact that unattended occupant detection and alert systems to prevent hot car deaths are available and affordable. This essential safety upgrade was included in the House-passed Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2) and should be enacted. Furthermore, children continue to be killed and seriously injured resulting from seat back failure. It is essential that this standard, which is over 50 years old, be updated to protect children seated behind front seat passengers. Additional measures are vitally needed including child safety seat labeling, expanding crash test dummies, and others to protect young passengers. We have safety solutions; it’s past time for them to be implemented.
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is an alliance of consumer, medical, public health, law enforcement and safety groups and insurance companies and agents working together to make America’s roads safer. Advocates’ mission is the adoption of federal and state laws, policies and programs that prevent motor vehicle crashes, save lives, reduce injuries, and contain costs.