Black box plan for US vehicles

Following Toyota's massive recall of its faulty models, which heavily affected the American market, the US government is considering plans to introduce black box recorders to all new cars and lorries.

The US House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce Committee has put forward a draft legislation that would see black boxes - similar to those on aeroplanes - being used to determine the cause of accidents.

Releasing the draft, Energy and Commerce chairman Henry Waxman said that it is aimed at improving vehicle safety and strengthening the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ability to more effectively investigate complicated safety problems.

The draft also suggests the removal of a limit on the civil penalty a manufacturer could face over a fault and to enable the NHTSA to order an immediate recall in the case of any safety issue.

It plans to set up new new safety standards for braking systems, vehicle electronics and to prevent pedals getting stuck in floor mats.

As part of the proposal, a US motor industry executive is required to verify if the information provided to the NHTSA is accurate. Any executive who provides 0 details would face a fine of up to £163 million.

It also recommended the introduction of a "vehicle user fee" of £2 per vehicle, increasing to £6 in the third year, to fund the NHTSA's vehicle safety initiative.

Toyota recalled more than eight million vehicles worldwide over faults with its models and paid £11 million in fines to the US government for addressing the car safety issue too slowly.

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