U.S. Automakers Sign Historic Safety Pact In Detroit

US DOT safety

A huge step forward for automotive safety this week.

Friday, 18 automakers reached a voluntary agreement with the federal government on a set of principles designed to make vehicles safer.

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, along with GM head Mary Barra and FCA Chief Sergio Marchionne,  were among those on hand for the announcement in Detroit.

The agreement, which follows a year of major recalls and widespread safety issues, was signed by every automaker that sells cars in the U.S., including Tesla Motors.

Here’s what the deal is supposed to do. It sets guidelines for better industry-wide reporting practices. The U.S. wants to know about problems earlier and it also wants to improve recall participation rates.

“I don’t need to recount the crisis after crisis we’ve been dealing,” says Foxx.  “We know they haven’t been good for the industry, for the DOT and most importantly, for public safety. Today we’re taking a strong stand in favor of a new approach.”

It also brings up the growing issue of cyber security. The automakers agreed to improve the cyber security of its connected vehicles by developing best practices as well as supporting the industry’s new Information and Sharing Analysis Center.

In his announcement, Foxx said the auto industry will allow look to borrow ideas from the aviation industry on how to improve its safety standards and share information.

The deal is weeks if not months in the making. Industry representatives started meeting with DOT officials in early December and came up with these principles over the past six weeks.

“Perhaps years from now, we’ll look back at this moment as a time when there may have been some skepticism about the safety of the auto industry in general, and the industry stepped up and made a hard pivot with us toward a more proactive safety culture,” says Foxx.

In other big Detroit news, Foxx announced Thursday that President Obama had proposed nearly $4 billion in funding to accelerate the development of connected and autonomous cars.

Photo Credit: U.S DOT/Facebook
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