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Mr. MACKAY. Mr. Chairman, I rise to speak in behalf of the Staggers bill, H.R. 13228, and urge its adoption. I also urge passage of its companion measure, the Fallon bill, H.R. 13290. I believe we ought to consider why these bills are before us. They are before us because of the force of American public opinion.
These safety bills are before us because there has been an alaiming upturn in the rate of deaths throughout the Nation about 8 percent for the first 6 months of this year. In my own county of De Kalb in Georgia, more people have been killed this year already than were killed last year. These bills are before us because public opinion believes that we could be doing more than we are doing now to reduce the number of accidents, deaths and injuries.
They are before us because the American people now realize that the trailc environment is a national environment. It is not a local, a city, & county, a State environment, or even & regional environment. It is a national environment.
Our problem is so acute now that we are suffering & national loss which has already been pointed out to be in excess of 50.000 lives this year, 225,000 people permanently disabled, and an economic loss in excess of $9 billion.
Since we are dealing with a national problem, there must necessarily be a national response. The significance of these two bills is that they define a new Federal role. I am very proud of the fact that this new Federal role has unanimous bipartisan support on our committee, and. I believe, on the other committees that have considered it.
What are the three elements in this new Federal role? First, the definition and enforcement of national safety performance standards for all motor vehicles. Fifty State legislatures simply cannot set these standards without chaos to the industry.
Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
ME MACKAY, I yield to the gentleman from North Carolina.
Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Chairman, does the bill give the Secretary authority to standardize operation control equipment on different kinds of new automobiles it safety performance is affected?
Mr. MACKAY. Yes, it does. The gentleman from Florida (Mr. ROGERS) presented an excellent amendment to provide ar. advisory council that will bring in all the interested parties State and local officials, automotive Industry and equipment people to participate in the formulation of those standards.
Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield further?
Mr. MACKAY. I yleld to the gentleman from North Carolina.
Mr. TAYLOR. For instance, I drive a car made by General Motors. My wife drives & car made by Ford Motor Co. The gearshift on one is just the opposite from the other. It is difficult for me to drive her car in traffic when quick, auto
matic action is needed. The differences in gearshifts add to the hazards of driving and could cause an accident. I am of the opinion that operating Teatures on new cars, such as gearshifts, should be standardized.
Mr. MACKAY. I thank the gentleman from North Carolina. That is a good wlustration of the type of safety hazard we are trying to get at.
At this time I should like to pay my respects to Mr. Ralph Nader, who has probably gotten across better than any. body else in the country that we can and must build safer cars and that it is easier to change cars than people. Mr. Nader has contributed mightily to our understanding that we can build saler automobiles. The Nation is in his debt.
Mr. MOSS. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. MACKAY. I am glad to yield to the gentleman from California.
Mr. MOSS. I should like to join the gentleman in paying tribute to the highly effective work of Mr. Nader. I believe his eports have acted as a catalyst and contributed very constructively to bringing to the attention of the American public the very serious problems we face in resolving the excessive number of accidents.
I believe that the American Association of Automotive Medicine and the very distinguished Trial Lawyers Association are groups of very dedicated individuals who also contributed to the work of the committee and to bringing these serious problems into focus.
Mr. MACKAY. I thank the gentleman from California. Recognition is also due Senator Speno of New York and former Congressman Kenneth Roberts of Alabama for their contributions.
I believe we can see that the argument has been won that the time has arrived when national safety performance standards should be established and enforced. No one is seriously contending that in respect to standards for motor vehicle safety that we can function at any level effectively other than the national level.
Second, a new Federal role is our provision for comprehensive research. The great scandal revealed by our committee is that the Government has failed to collect the data needed and on which we can base judgments as to the causes of deaths, accidents, and injuries. Congress shares the blame because we have not heretofore explicitly assigned this responsibility to any department.
We know that one of the first results will be this: We are going to begin vigorous comprehensive research so that we can make our counterattack at the right points.
The third Federal role is the provision in the Fallon bill for grants in aid to help the States build better traffic safety programs within their borders and build a safer and more uniform trafic environment. This is an effort to get the States to work togetner in a way they have not thus far.
Both bills provide for agencies and administrators.
Last March 2 the President said in his message on transportation, that he, by Executive order, would under existing law coordinate all safety activities in the Department of Commerce. Now, 16,000 deaths later, the executive department has not moved. Nothing meaningful has been done about which we have any knowledge.
I believe it is the duty of this Congress, therefore, to see to it that we assign specific responsibility. When we ny on an aircraft we know that the FAA and the FAA Administrator are watching over the total environment for the safety of every air traveler. We must, by analogy. assign responsibility for an agency to watch over the total trafic environment and consider every element in it.
I predict that unless the Congress assigns explicit responsibility to an agency and administrator under this bill, or under the Department of Transporta. tion, this fine legislation will not be implemented and executed.
I believe that what we should do, today and tomorrow, is pass these bills, and then follow through on our responsibility, which is to make etective legislative assignment of responsibility to administer these tramc safety measures in the executive department.
Therefore, Mr. Chairman, I support and urge the passage of H.R. 13228 authored by Chairman STAGGERS and entitled “National Trafic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966." It is not a perfect bill but it is a good bill and constitutes tvo-thirds of what many of us deem to be a proper basis for a national attack on trafic accidents. The other third of the program is encompassed in HR. 13290 authored by Chairman FALLON and entitled "Highway Safety Act of 1966." I strongly support that measure also.
The Staggers bill provides for the establishment and enforcement of safety performance standards for all motor vehicles. And it provides for an accident and injury research and test facility. It incorporates a title on tire safety and provides for the continuance of seat belt and brake fluid standards. These latter provisions deal specifically with matters that will of necessity be included in any list of safety performance standards developed under title I. They have been treated specially because they are three critical factors in automobile safety which had attracted the attention of Congress before the big safety push of 1966 began.
The Fallon bill provides for a program of grants-in-aid to the States and lesser political subdivisions to develop a safer and more uniform traffic environment. Specific provision is made for assistance to States in developing and improving highway safety programs through: improved driver education; improved pedestrian performance; effective record systems of accidents and accident investigations to determine the probable
causes of accidents, injuries, and deaths; uniform vehicle registration and inspection; highway design and maintenance and detection and correction of high accident locations; more uniform tralnc control signs; more uniform tnamc codes; and provision for better cmergency services when accidents occur.
Both bulls recognize the need for the explicit assignment of responsibility to an agency and for an administrator. Both bius provide advisory councils to assure the involvement of appropriate Interests and individuals in the formulation of standards.
Logically there should be one tranc safety bill instead of two bills. In a sense these two measures represent an uncoordinated effort to mount & coordinated attack on the problem. On the other hand they are comprehensive in their content and given proper Executive lead. ership these two measures provide the substantive authorizations necessary to attack and reverse the present trend of Increasing deaths and injuries. I believe both bills should pass the House and then be given further attention in the conference committees. To turn the trick and get the best result we need a conference committee between the two conference committees.
The committees of the House and Senate have done good work. The executive department, on the other hand, has been a divided house. The Department of Commerce has appeared to be "turning loose" a hard problem. On the other hand, the shapers of a Department of Transportation have been beset by so many problems of putting so many agencies together that this giant tramc accident problem has appeared to be more of an irritant than the prime concern it should be.
It is apparent that the great force of public opinion which has been generated in support of a national tramc safety program could be dissipated if the executive branch fails to recognize and support the need for Congress to explicitly assign responsibility for the implementation of these new laws in an once or agency and an administrator.
Il the Department of Transportation fails in this Congress the creation of such an agency is all the more important because the Department of Commerce, in the opinion of many, simply will not apply the vigorous leadership this great problem demands. It has too many other concerns.
If the Department of Transportation is established then the trafic safety function logically fits under the higt.way section and should receive the fulltime attention of a high-level administrator on the level of the Administrator of the Bureau of Public Roads.
The advice of the Bureau of the Budget against the agency idea has prevailed and this advice in my opinion has been wrong. We have witnessed accelerating death by committee when we need to wage war against an enemy within our gates that has taken a toll just as cruel in its consequences as an invader could exact.
Rource: All 1963 Ngures are from the National Center for llealth Statistics. All 1904,
Minna, Ines than 0.5 percent.
We nccd to personily tra mc safety in an administrator. We need an agency and an oice recognized by Congress and the Amcrican people as the command post in our war on traffic accidents.
We need to recornize that the words "highway Accidents are not inclusive enourh and that the words "tramc accidents' arc inclusive of very foot of rond. way in the Nation.
We need leadership which will deal with the total environment and all of the complex factors which enter into death on the streets. The emphasis on safer cars and the second collision have been valuable. But the American proper are more interested in measures that will lessen chances of the first collision.
In the President's exccllent message on transportation delivered to this body on March 2, 1966, he stated that he had set in motion a number of steps under existing law:
I am assigning responsibility for coordinating Federal Highway Safety programs to the Secretary of Commerce. Inm directing the Serreinry to prtnblish A major highwny unit within his Department. This unit will ultimately be transferred to the Department of Transportation,
No one has challenged the President's assessment of the traffic problem as being second only to national defense yet no one can fairly state that tramc sa cty has been given the kind of priority and attention it deserves if this assessment is correct.
Congress has the power to act and I am glad to support Its actions today. Before adjournment I trust that it will act to assure coordinated leadership to administer the comprehensive programs contained in the Staggers and Fallon bills.
Approximately 72.500 men, women, and children have sufered violent and untimely death and 225,000 Americans have been disabled since the 89th Congress convened January 9, 1965.
The following chart cannot convey the immensity of the loss and grief occurring in each of the 50 States but it shows hat a vigorous counteroffensive is ur
gently needed: 19637
Mr. SPRINGER. Mr. Chairman, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. NELSEN).
Mr. NELSEN. Mr. Chairman, one feature of this legislation to which I should like to call attention--and it has been overlooked to some degree-is adequate
Motor echicle deaths and changes, lotal l’nited Statra, June and 6 month., 1968
Wiline serral inonths together
weh to June 16
! I'lue, less than 11.5 mert.
Stale motor vehicle deaths, changes and rales
1 Plus, less than 0.5 percent.
All figures are preliinin..ry. To insure proper coin purison, 1964 und 1905 Oguras cover the same reporting period us those for two.
Population rato: Estiinalad annual number of deaths per 100,000 population.
safety in highway marking. The great burden of testimony was directed at the vehicle, but the record shows that a large number of accidents are the result of inadequate markings on our highways.
One survey in Iowa indicates that there was a 63-percent reduction of accidents because of markings and trafic signs on certain stretches of highways, and certain delineators along the roadside in Michigan on two test locations reduced night accidents by 28 percent and 39 percent respectively. In Virginia the reduction was 57 and 67 percent in two tests. Right-agle yield signs reduced accidents by 62 percent in 979 locations. We also And that on the rural roads there are 164.8 accidents per 100 million miles of travel. On primary roads, the number is 90.4, but on secondary roads it is 164.8. In other words, there is a 2 to 1 ratio on serondary roads. In the other part of the bill it is my understanding that there will be some language which will deal with highway markings. This is im. portant, and I hope that a little colloquy will take place on the floor relative to these matters when we discuss that portion of the bill, because it is most important.
Mr. SPRINGER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from Ohio I Mr. DEVINE).
Mr. KORNEGAY. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield to me?
Mr. DEVINE. I yield to the gentleman.
Mr. KORNEGAY. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of H.R. 13228. I commend my chairman, the gentleman from West Virginia, and my colleagues on the committee for their dedicated efforts in writ. ing this bill now before us, the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966.
I think the bill we are debating is & credit to the members of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce. The committee worked longer and harder on this bill than any that has come before the committee since I was privileged to sit on this committe. Public hearings were held over a 2-month period. Extensive testimony was heard from a variety and a number of interested witnesses. Seventeen executive sessions were held before the bill was reported unanimously.
Because of the complexities involved in the problems of traffic and vehicle safety, every aspect touching on the many problems were microscopically examined. This required a constant process of revising and rewriting the orignal bill. Through the work of many hundreds of man-hours on the part of the committee and its staff, we bring to you a bill which is as good as the collective ninds of the committee could make it. It may not be perfect, but I contend it is a giant step forward in the right direction, a step that will, in my considered opinion, go far toward attacking the safety problem.
The problem facing us is immense. Over 50.000 persons will die on our highways this year as the result of traffic accidents. Many thousands of others will suffer severe and permanent injuries.
Over $8 billion in property damages will be sustained due to automobile crashes.
The legislation we are considering today will not, of course, end the carnage completely. nor will it make the automobiles or the highways completely sale. But, it will help.
I am proud to have beer a member of the committee that reported this bill to you for your consideration. I hope that you will share our pride in our vote for its passage here.
Mr. DEVINE. Mr. Chairman, the car. nage in Austin, Tex., a couple of weeks ago, where the so-called student mounted the tower and fired on the people below and killed 15 or 20 innocent citizens brought forth a remark from one of the Members of the other body across the Capitol to the elect that people kill people; not guns and not automobiles. It is the rellow penind the sun, or in the legislation, the wheel.
This legislation was brought forward primarily because Mr. Nader and others made public pronouncements about certain alleged facts in the automobile industry. The record is clear and there are no meaningful statistics that were produced, no statistics were brought forth from any source nor have there been any results of any studies which have been made which show what percentage of the deaths or accidents were caused as & direct result of defectively manufactured vehicles. I think probably the most startling statistics which we heard as a result of the witnesses who appeared before our Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce were that the use of alcohol was involved in at least 50 percent of all the accidents which did result in fatalities. I was a bit surprised to find American Motors. General Motors, Chrysler, Ford and all of the representatives of these great corporations gave in the Arst week and decided that the tree enterprise system could no longer solve these problems and that they were turning to the Government not to solve it alone but to do it on & cooperative basis. This is certainly & twist. The testimony before our committee had an adverse effect on the economy of the Nation, because the public was spooked into believing that these great corporations were manufacturing cars without regard to safety. So, many people decided not to purchase automobiles of the 1966 model because they were lulled into a false sense of security in believing that our great Federal Government had put its finger on the problem and that the manufacturers would suddenly in 1967 models, begin to manufacture only safe cars and that no one would be hurt or killed in the future.
Mr. Chairman, I am not a stranger in the field of legislating with regard to automobile safety and that sort of thing. Fifteen years ago when I served in the Ohio Legislature, I was one of the cosponsors of a safety inspection bill which passed the house and passed the senate and was vetoed by the Governor but passed over his veto in the house. I also sponsored legislation ordering a mandatory 10-day jail sentence for those convicted of driving under the influence of