Nation’s top auto safety regulator misses deadline on potentially life-saving new rules for vehicle seats

Nation’s top auto safety regulator misses deadline on potentially life-saving new rules for vehicle seats

“The Center is disappointed that NHTSA has been unable to meet the Congressionally mandated deadline and begin the process of improving federal safety standards to prevent deaths and injuries due to seat back collapse,” said Center for Auto Safety executive director Michael Brooks. “We encourage the agency to prioritize this rulemaking, particularly since there have been decades of neglect in safety requirements for rear seats.” The Center also renewed its call on automakers to improve their seat designs in ways that aim to protect all the passengers in a vehicle.

By Kris Van Cleave
November 17, 2023

When President Biden signed the massive bipartisan infrastructure bill into law two years ago this week, it started a clock for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, known as NHTSA, to draft a number of new safety regulations, including one prompted by a multi-year CBS News investigation.

That two-year clock expired Wednesday without a new proposed regulation to improve the 56-year-old federal safety standard for vehicle seats. A CBS News investigation that began in 2015 exposed that the 1967 strength standard leaves vehicle front seats susceptible to collapse in rear-end crashes, putting children in the back seat at increased risk of injury or death.

This week marks 13 years since 16-month-old Taylor Warner, was killed when the family minivan was rear-ended while at a stop sign. The force of the crash caused her father Andy’s seat to collapse backward, colliding with Taylor, who was strapped in her car seat.

“It’s disappointing that after years of hard work with CBS and so many lives lost or negatively affected NHTSA didn’t make this a priority and allowed the deadline to pass,” Taylor’s mother Liz Warner told CBS News. “Our goal from the beginning has been to make sure this doesn’t happen to other families and their innocent children and by dragging their feet more and more people suffer.”

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Click here to view the full story from CBS News.