While Congress did lots of good things last year, the members failed to address a major safety crisis. It went largely unnoticed that Congress failed to pass the Motor Vehicle Safety Act before it left our Nation’s Capitol in December. With highway deaths once again rising after a four-year downturn, this failure to pass the legislation is a public health tragedy. In a year that began with runaway Toyotas and ended with Windstar rear axle fractures, one thing is very clear. NHTSA, the agency charged with the responsibility to regulate the automobile industry, does not have the authority or resources to stand up to an auto industry that always has and always will place profits above safety. NHTSA must be given the tools it needs so that the agency can do its job and protect U.S. citizens. Hopefully, Congress will make passage of this legislation a top priority in 2011.
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