Statement on NHTSA NPRM on Front Passenger and Rear Seat Belt Reminders

  • August 21, 2023
150 150 Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
Statement of Peter Kurdock, General Counsel, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety on Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Front Passenger and Rear Seat Belt Reminders

(Washington, DC-June 22, 2023) The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to require passenger vehicles be equipped with seat belt use warning systems for the right front seat passenger and passengers in the rear seats. The current Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) (208) only requires a seat belt warning for the driver’s seat.  Extending these protections to all seating positions is urgently needed.

The rulemaking was required by Congress over a decade ago in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act (Pub. L. 112-141). Advocates has repeatedly pushed for the final rule to be issued and, in 2019, filed comments in response to the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM). We commend NHTSA for moving forward with the NPRM and urge the agency to complete this rulemaking without further delay.

Almost 43,000 people died needlessly on our roads in 2021 and half of all passenger vehicle occupants killed were unbelted. An even higher percentage of rear seat occupants killed (59 percent) were unrestrained. Seat belts save lives and by encouraging their use in all seating positions more motorists will arrive home safely.

Note: Advocates is in the process of reviewing the extensive NPRM and will submit comments to the docket.