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ACT APPROVED DECEMBER 13, 1963
(77 STAT. 361; 15 U.S.C. 1321) [AN ACT To provide that seat belts sold or shipped in interstate commerce for
use in motor vehicles shall meet certain safety standards. [Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Secretary of Commerce shall prescribe and publish in the Federal Register minimum standards for seat belts for use in motor vehicles other than those of carriers subject to safety regulations under part II of the Interstate Commerce Act. Such standards shall be designed to provide the public with safe seat belts so that passenger injuries in motor vehicle accidents can be kept to a minimum. Standards first established under this section shall be prescribed and published not later than one year after the date of enactment of this Act.
[Sec. 2. (a) The manufacture for sale, the sale, or the offering for sale, in interstate commerce, or the importation into the United States, or the introduction, delivery for introduction, transportation or causing to be transported in, interstate commerce, or for the purpose of sale, or delivery after sale, in interstate commerce, of any seat belt manufactured on or after the date this section takes effect shall be unlawful unless such seat belt meets the standards prescribed by the Secretary of Commerce as set forth in the first section of this Act.
[(b) Whoever knowingly and willfully violates this section shall be fined not more than $1,000, or imprisoned not more than one year or both.
[SEC. 3. As used in this Act
[(1) The term "interstate commerce" includes commerce between one State, Territory, possession, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and another State, Territory, possession, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
[(2) The term "motor vehicle” means any other vehicle or machine propelled or drawn by mechanical power and used on the highways principally in the transportation of passengers.
[(3) The term "seat belt” means any strap, webbing, or similar device designed to secure a passenger in a motor vehicle in order to mitigate the results of any accident, including all necessary buckles, and other fasteners, and all hardware designed for installing such seat belt in a motor vehicle.
[Sec. 4. This Act shall take effect on the date of its enactment except that section 2 shall take effect on such date as the Secretary of Commerce shall determine but such date shall be not less than one hundred and eighty days nor more than one year after the date of publication of standards first established under the first section of this Act. If such standards first established are thereafter changed, such standards as so changed shall take effect on such date as the Secretary of Commerce shall determine but such date shall be not less than one hundred and eighty days nor more than one year after the date of their publication in accordance with the provisions of the first section of this Act.)
ACT APPROVED JULY 14, 1960, AS AMENDED (74 STAT. 526;
23 U.S.C. 313 NOTE) AN ACT To provide for a register in the Department of Commerce in which shall
be listed the names of certain persons who have had their motor vehicle operator's licenses revoked.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, (That the Secretary of Commerce shall establish and maintain a register containing the name of each individual reported to him by a State, or political subdivision thereof, as an individual with respect to whom such State or political subdivision has terminated or temporarily withdrawn an individual's license or privilege to operate a motor vehicle because of (1) driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor, or (2) conviction of a violation of a statute of a State, or ordinance of any political subdivision thereof, which resulted in the death of any person. Such register shall contain such other information as the Secretary may deem appropriate to carry out the purposes of this Act.
(Sec. 2. The Secretary shall, at the request of any State, or political subdivision thereof, furnish such information as may be contained in the register established under section 1 with respect to any individual applicant for a motor vehicle operator's license or permit in such State or political subdivision.
[Sec. 3. The term “State" includes each of the several States, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Virgin Islands, and the Canal Zone.) That the Secretary of Commerce shall establish and maintain a register identifying each individual reported to him by a State, or political subdivision thereof, as an individual with respect to whom such State or political subdivision has denied, terminated, or temporarily withdrawn (except a withdrawal for less than six months based on a series of nonmoving violations) an individual's license or privilege to operate a motor vehicle.
Sec. 2. Only at the request of a State, or a Federal de partment or agency, shall the Secretary furnish information contained in the register established under the first section of this Act, and such information shall be furnished only to the requesting party and only with respect to an individual applicant for a motor vehicle operator's license or permit.
Sec. 3. As used in this Act, the term “State" includes each of the several States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Virgin Islands, the Canal Zone, and American Samoa.
ADDITIONAL VIEWS ON H.R. 13228
H.R. 13228, as it comes from this committee is a good, well considered and workable bill. It has had the very careful attention of the committee, unhurried and unaffected by any sensationalism which may have originally colored the thinking of the public and even the Congress on the subject of automobile safety and the steps necessary and desirable to eventually eliminate, so far as humanly possible, the slaughter on our Nation's highways.
In the course of deliberating this measure the committee discussed at length the desirability of creating an advisory body bringing together the experience and the views of the various private and public elements concerned with the subject of safety standards for new cars. After thorough discussion it was decided that a group appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate would be in the best interests of the public. Such a group, disconnected from the responsibility of administering the act could bring forth all points of view, all complexion of ideas, suggestions, and technical possibilities. Once it became known that such a provision had been agreed upon, the pressure to undo and reverse the decision was intense. Obviously the Commerce Department considers such an advisory body as a hindrance and danger to its own ideas of the proper methods to be used in the very important business of setting automotive safety standards. The very ferocity of the effort should indicate to a casual observer that there must be a good reason to have such an independent deliberative group to assist the Department and make recommendations which are open to the public.
In the course of the hearings on this bill it was readily admitted by those agencies of Government concerned that they had no extensive expertise in this field. The real knowledge and experience lay in the industries involved and in the private and public agencies, particularly the State and local governmental agencies directly concerned with auto safety over the years. The relatively independent and autonomous Presidential board provided in the original version as accepted by the committee brings this experience into play in a meaningful way. It gives the various interested elements, including the public members, a forum for working out tough problems and coming to some reasonable solution. The Secretary may not always accept its recommendations but he will be better informed. And because of its activity so will industry and so will the State and local governments.
The very requirement that prospective members of the safety council be confirmed by the Senate, with open hearings on the background of each, should assure that it will be made up of the highest qualified representatives of the groups set out in the law to participate. Its very makeup should engender confidence in the public that auto safety has been placed above mere bureaucratic procedure and above politics. It is our intention to make every effort to amend the bill to provide for the Presidential advisory body.
NATIONAL TRAFFIC AND MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY ACT OF 1966 47
Our objection to the present advisory council provisions is directed at both the procedures by which they were inserted into the bill and the merits. The latter we have discussed.
The former should be of interest to those outside the committee considering the bill. The committee having carefully devised the provisions for a presidentially appointed council making written recommendations, the first attempt to scuttle them was rebuffed. At the very last meeting of the committee, called to report out the bill, a substitute bill was offered changing only this portion to accommodate the Secretary of Commerce, and the substitute carried by one vote, 13 to 12. This manner of undoing the careful work of the cominittee should not be accepted by the House of Representatives, and we urge the return to the earlier concept.
William L. SPRINGER,
INDIVIDUAL VIEWS OF GLENN CUNNINGHAM,
ON H.R. 13228
It has been a matter of great concern to me throughout the Senate and House hearings and deliberations on traffic safety that the great emphasis and the blatant ballyhoo were being directed at one phase of a complex problem-one phase which has but little to do with the solutions we must seek. Having worked for many years professionally for auto safety I was certain that the sudden sensational charges and counter charges would confuse rather than clarify the issues and the search for proper solutions and sensible programs. It is some satisfaction to note that the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce did not entirely succumb to this propaganda campaign although even its work could not be completely objective under the circumstances.
In the wide spectrum of programs necessary to increase significantly traffic safety, new car design has a proper place. It is a minor place but it should not be overlooked. Minimizing the injuries to passengers of motor vehicles after an accident has happened is worthwhile despite its resemblance to locking the proverbial barn door. It is recognized that despite the very best efforts on all fronts accidents will occur and safer vehicles will thereby help hold down the toll of injuries. It is wrong, however, to look upon this as the cure-all and that is what seems to be happening. Like many others on our committee I urge again a great emphasis and effort by all concerned to keep an eye on the doughnut which is to be found in the States and localities, not Washington. Accidents are caused by many factors and can best be avoided by better streets, better traffic control, better driver education, better auto maintenance, and dedicated enforcement.
To complete the picture we do need standards for the construction of automobiles and they must be nationwide. All of the machinery for this purpose included in this bill is commendable. The requirement of conference with all elements before setting standards is wise. I have no quarrel with the general approach of this legislation and the committee has tried to relegate new car standards to their proper place in the picture. I am concerned that the very existence of Federal standards may inhibit the development of safer automobiles. Once a standard is set the easiest course for those building cars is to accept it as gospel and go no further. Federal standards could and may serve as a ceiling on performance rather than a floor from which it will rise. It is my hope that those responsible for administering this program will continue to be aware of this and will settle down to make• it work after the smoke screen of sensationalism has drifted away.