Automakers and NHTSA Announce Industry Collaboration to Advance Mutual Goal of Improving Highway Safety


Auto Industry Proactive Safety Principles will Enhance Motor Vehicle Safety and Allow for Continued Innovation

Detroit, MI January 15, 2016 – Major automakers and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today unveiled a voluntary set of “Proactive Safety Principles” that will set forth the framework for enhancing automotive safety and quality across the industry.

“Highway safety is a shared and collaborative responsibility and the Principles are a reaffirmation of our combined commitment to Americans traveling on our roadways,” said John Bozzella, president and CEO for Global Automakers.  “The industry remains dedicated to producing vehicles with cutting-edge technologies and ensuring that any potential safety issue can be quickly identified and remedied.”

The Proactive Safety Principles were developed collaboratively by the member companies of both major automobile trade associations, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers, along with DOT.

The Safety Principles center on the following overarching themes:

  • Enhance and Facilitate Proactive Safety
  • Enhance Analysis and Examination of Early Warning Reporting Data
  • Maximize Safety Recall Participation Rates
  • Enhance Automotive Cybersecurity

“As NHTSA has acknowledged, vehicle defects alone constitute less than 1 percent of fatalities.  So while it’s vital to strengthen the recall process and work to reduce the need for recalls, among our best opportunities for material advances in safety is a focus on the 99 percent of fatalities related to human error and other non-defect factors,” said Mitch Bainwol, president and CEO, Auto Alliance.

Working together, there has been enormous progress in automotive safety over the last 50 years.  Since the passage of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act in 1966, fatalities as a share of miles travelled are down 80 percent, and are down 26 percent just over the past decade alone.  From designs and technologies that provide substantial protection to occupants involved in crashes to vehicle technologies that assist drivers in avoiding crashes, the automobile industry has made a significant and continuous contribution to motor vehicle and traffic safety.

Likewise, DOT’s National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a history of implementing programs to address behavioral safety such as drunk, drugged, distracted and drowsy driving, speeding, and failure to use safety features such as seat belts and child seats, as well as initiatives to protect vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.  These activities will continue to play an important role in improving roadway safety.