Schakowsky Introduces Auto Safety Legislation Package

June 2, 2021
Press Release

EVANSTON – Today, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a Senior Chief Deputy Whip and Chair of the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, announced the introduction of an auto safety package of legislation.

“Auto safety systems should come standard on all vehicles, not luxury items. That is why I am proud to introduce the PARK IT Act, which addresses the dangers created by keyless ignition systems such as carbon monoxide poisoning and vehicle rollaways, and the 21st Century Smart Cars Act, which will make innovative safety technologies standard on all new cars. These bills will help prevent the tens of thousands of deaths and millions of injuries. To protect consumers and save lives, these safety technologies must come standard on all vehicles on the road and meet strong performance requirements,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky.

The PARKIT Act, H.R. 3629, protects Americans from the risks created by keyless ignition technology by requiring manufacturers to install technology that prevents carbon monoxide poisoning and vehicle rollaways in each motor vehicle equipped with a keyless ignition device. The 21st Century Smart Cars Act, H.R. 3628, makes existing innovative safety technologies standard on all new vehicles. These advanced systems, like crash avoidance technology and updated headlamp innovations, would prevent many avoidable vehicle accidents and save lives on American roads.

These bills, as well as the Hot Cars Act which will save children and pets from preventable heat strokes, were included in the Motor Vehicle Safety Title of H.R. 2, which passed the House last Congress.

“At a time when Congressional leadership is desperately needed to stem the scourge of vehicle related tragedies killing drivers, passengers, and pedestrians in record numbers, the 21st Century Smart Cars Act and PARK IT Act cannot become law fast enough. By accelerating the use of existing technologies that can mitigate and prevent tragedies on our roads and in our driveways while requiring standards to ensure performance, Chairwoman Schakowsky’s bills can save the lives of thousands of consumers,” said Jason Levine, Executive Director of the Center for Auto Safety.  

“It’s time to stop treating safety as a luxury. A Consumer Reports analysis has found that existing safety technologies could cut road deaths in half if they were standard on every new vehicle. Congress should pass the 21st Century Smart Cars Act to make sure people don't have to buy an expensive vehicle or a premium options package to get proven safety features. Congress also should pass the PARK IT Act to get simple, available safety systems on all passenger vehicles with a keyless ignition,” said William Wallace, manager of safety policy for Consumer Reports.

Cathy Chase, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety said, “Once again Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL, 9th) is a leading safety and consumer rights trailblazer who sees how proven technology can and should be used to protect all road users and takes decisive action to advance it.  She has reintroduced the 21st Century Smart Cars Act which would require crash avoidance technology, such as automatic emergency braking, in new cars with performance standards, among other safety improvements.  She also reintroduced the Protecting Americans from the Risks of Keyless Ignition Technology Act (PARK IT) Act to curb known hazards associated with push-button ignitions that can lead to inadvertent carbon monoxide poisoning or roll-away crashes.  These safety advances were passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last year as part of the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2) and Congress should act swiftly to send them to the President’s desk and start saving lives.”