APPENDIX B

CONGRESSIONAL REQUESTS FOR CONSUMER AUTOMOTIVE SAFETY INFORMATION STUDY, 1994

U.S. Congress, U.S. House of Representatives, Conference Report, H. Rept. 103-752 on H.R. 4556, Making Appropriations for the Department of Transportation and Related Agencies for the Fiscal Year Ending September 30, 1995 and for Other Purposes, Sept. 26, 1994.

National Academy of Sciences study on automobile labeling.—The conference agreement includes $300,000 for a study to be conducted by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) of motor vehicle safety consumer information needs and the most cost effective methods of communicating this information, as proposed by the House. The conferees request that the NAS study include participation from a wide array of experts in marketing, advertising, consumer attitudes, vehicle safety, vehicle product development and manufacturing, as well as consumer representatives and safety advocates. The conferees further request that, as part of its study, the NAS review information gathered by NHTSA through public meetings held in 1994 on the topic of consumer information, and any information gathered by the agency through surveys of occupant protection attitudes, knowledge and behavior. The study should be submitted to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations no later than March 31, 1996. In order to ensure that the results of the study are considered in the rulemaking process, the conferees agree that NHTSA shall not issue a final regulation concerning motor vehicle safety labeling requirements until after the NAS study is completed.

U.S. Congress, House Committee on Appropriations, H. Rept. 103-543, Part 1, on H.R. 4556, Department of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, June 9, 1994.



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OCR for page 147
Shopping for Safety: Providing Consumer Automotive Safety Information APPENDIX B CONGRESSIONAL REQUESTS FOR CONSUMER AUTOMOTIVE SAFETY INFORMATION STUDY, 1994 U.S. Congress, U.S. House of Representatives, Conference Report, H. Rept. 103-752 on H.R. 4556, Making Appropriations for the Department of Transportation and Related Agencies for the Fiscal Year Ending September 30, 1995 and for Other Purposes, Sept. 26, 1994. National Academy of Sciences study on automobile labeling.—The conference agreement includes $300,000 for a study to be conducted by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) of motor vehicle safety consumer information needs and the most cost effective methods of communicating this information, as proposed by the House. The conferees request that the NAS study include participation from a wide array of experts in marketing, advertising, consumer attitudes, vehicle safety, vehicle product development and manufacturing, as well as consumer representatives and safety advocates. The conferees further request that, as part of its study, the NAS review information gathered by NHTSA through public meetings held in 1994 on the topic of consumer information, and any information gathered by the agency through surveys of occupant protection attitudes, knowledge and behavior. The study should be submitted to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations no later than March 31, 1996. In order to ensure that the results of the study are considered in the rulemaking process, the conferees agree that NHTSA shall not issue a final regulation concerning motor vehicle safety labeling requirements until after the NAS study is completed. U.S. Congress, House Committee on Appropriations, H. Rept. 103-543, Part 1, on H.R. 4556, Department of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, June 9, 1994.

OCR for page 147
Shopping for Safety: Providing Consumer Automotive Safety Information National Academy of Sciences study on consumer needs for automobile information.—The Committee notes that there is increased consumer interest in motor vehicle safety, and recognizes the role that NHTSA can play in assuring that useful information is made available in the most cost effective manner. To some degree, the NCAP addresses this need, but this program is limited in scope and does not necessarily provide a full assessment of a vehicle's overall safety capabilities. In the Committee's judgment, there is a need for an independent scientific study that considers a broad range of consumer information issues related to motor vehicle safety. Therefore, the Committee has included in the bill $300,000 to support a contract with the National Academy of Sciences for a detailed analysis of motor vehicle safety consumer information needs and the most cost effective methods of communicating this information. This study should be comprehensive in scope, with participation from experts in a variety of areas including marketing, advertising, consumer attitudes, vehicle safety, vehicle product development and manufacturing. The results of the NHTSA public meeting on the NCAP should also be considered in the study process. The study should focus on the validity of current programs, public and private, in providing accurate information to consumers on the real-world safety of vehicles, the possibility of improving the system in a cost effective and realistic manner, and the best methods of providing useful information to consumers. Through federal and state requirements, vehicles have or will soon have labels providing information on subjects such as fuel economy, domestic content, bumper impact capability, proper placement of child safety seats, the use of safety belts with air bags, as well as price and equipment information. In addition, there is discussion of adding additional safety labeling requirements. Many of the labels provide important information, but questions can be raised about what information is most important to provide and how best to provide that information. The Committee expects these issues to be addressed in the study. Further, the study should address the feasibility of establishing a reliable and effective vehicle rating system. The study should be submitted to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations not later than March 31, 1996. The Committee expects that further action by NHTSA on expanding the NCAP to other crash modes and on new safety labeling requirements will be deferred pending the completion of the study.