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BUSH SIGNS MAJOR HIGHWAY SAFETY PROVISIONS INTO LAW

 BUSH SIGNS MAJOR HIGHWAY SAFETY PROVISIONS INTO LAW
 /ADVANCE/ WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- President Bush


today signed into law a transportation bill which includes sweeping highway and auto safety improvements. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, which lobbied extensively for the safety provisions, hailed the bill as "one of the most significant pieces of consumer safety legislation in a decade." Michael F. Dineen, vice president for federal relations with Kemper National Insurance Companies, represented Advocates at the Dallas signing ceremony.
 "Highway and vehicle safety deserves a high profile in a transportation bill," said Gerald L. Maatman, president and CEO of Kemper National Insurance Companies and co-chair of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. "When implemented, this bill will save thousands of lives and millions of dollars. It's a big victory for auto insurance policyholders and their companies, and a good example of how business and consumers can work together to improve safety and cut costs."
 "Enactment of this law is a major public health achievement and a tremendous victory for American consumers," said Advocates' consumer Co-Chair Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen and a former NHTSA administrator. "State-of-the-art automotive safety technology will now be required in all family vehicles -- cars, vans and light trucks. When all vehicles have these safety features, over 10,000 lives will be saved every year."
 "This bill shapes the highway environment into the next century," said Judith Lee Stone, executive director of Advocates. "The vital safety initiatives in H.R. 2950 will save lives and tax dollars. The American public can look forward to safer vehicles on our roads, a safer highway environment, stronger state laws to fight impaired driving and increased safety belt and motorcycle helmet use."
 The legislation includes:
 -- airbag requirements which will result in driver- and passenger-side airbags for all passenger cars 9/1/97 (model year 1998) and in vans and light trucks beginning 9/1/98 (model year 1999);
 -- a freeze on longer-combination vehicles (double and triple trailers) at current levels;
 -- an incentive grant program to encourage states to adopt safety belt and motorcycle helmet use laws;
 -- an improved incentive grant program to encourage states to adopt effective anti-drunk driving laws;
 -- a first-time safety standard for head injury that could occur from interior components of cars (each year, automobile crashes result in more than 300,000 brain injuries);
 -- a rulemaking schedule for rollover and side impact protections, child booster seats, improved braking systems for big trucks and passenger cars; and
 -- a Department of Transportation (DOT) rulemaking on speed limit compliance and enforcement which will help curb excessive speeding;
 -- improved inspection for safety, size and weight of commercial vehicles;
 -- improved work zone safety (more than 780 people were killed in highway work zones last year);
 -- safer highway design features (traffic control devices, road markings and appurtenances); and
 -- rulemaking for bridge, pavement and highway safety management programs.
 The law also reauthorizes the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the DOT agency responsible for auto safety regulations, which has not been reauthorized since 1982.
 Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is a broad-based alliance of consumer, safety and law enforcement groups and insurance and agents organizations formed to promote adoption of effective highway safety legislation, standards, policies and programs at national and state levels in order to reduce deaths, injuries and economic costs associated with crashes, fraud and theft involving motor vehicles.
 -0- 12/18/91/1130
 /CONTACT: Katherine R. Hutt or Carol Stroebel of the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, 202-408-1711/ CO: Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety; Kemper National Insurance
 Companies ST: District of Columbia, Texas IN: TRN AUT SU: LEG EXE


DC-MH -- DC005 -- 3340 12/18/91 10:41 EST
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Date:Dec 18, 1991
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