Bill could force automakers to confront safety hazard blamed for dozens of child deaths a year


(CBS NEWS) – Democratic Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal introduced legislation that would force automakers to confront a decades-old issue responsible for countless fatalities. 

Child safety seats in cars, under scrutiny in the past, are now required in all 50 U.S. states. However, the safety standards of regular seat backs have not been updated since the 1960s, which Senator Markey says is to blame for hundreds of deaths and injuries. 

“We lose, on average, 50 children a year — one a week, who die because the standard is not updated,” he told CBS News’ Kris Van Cleave. “One child a week on average for the last 15 years.”

The legislation Markey and Blumenthal introduced would give automakers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration two years to strengthen seat standards.

Markey had been working to change the standards since 2015, when he said “CBS put the spotlight on this issue.”

“As a result, this spotlight is now on NHTSA and the auto manufacturers, and our goal is to make sure that we pass the legislation that fixes this problem,” he said. 

Parents Andy and Liz Warner hope the legislation prevents losses such as the one they experienced a decade ago. 

The Warners’ 16-month-old daughter Taylor was secured in a car seat behind her father in the family’s minivan when they were rear-ended. Andy Warner’s seat broke, collapsing backwards into Taylor.

“It was all because of some stupid car that we thought was the safest thing we could get for our family to protect them,” Liz Warner told CBS News in 2015

She and her husband are still struggling with their loss today.

“Some days are harder than others,” she said. “Some days I can, you know, get through it, and other days I get very emotional.”

Despite their enormous grief, the couple has been pushing for change since Taylor’s death.

“We wanted to make sure that, you know, we can prevent this from happening to other families,” Warner said. 

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