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NHTSA nominee Cliff says he’ll deal with bounce in U.S. site visitors deaths

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s nominee to function the highest auto security regulator vowed to deal with the huge enhance in U.S. highway deaths, in line with his ready congressional testimony.

Steven Cliff, who was tapped to move the Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration, instructed a Senate panel Thursday the U.S. has “seen an unprecedented rise in roadway fatalities. I’m dedicated to turning this round.”

He added the U.S. should be taught “the way to change a tradition that accepts the lack of tens of hundreds of individuals in roadway crashes as inevitable.”

U.S. site visitors deaths soared by 18.4 % within the first six months of 2021 in contrast with the identical interval a 12 months earlier, representing probably the most lethal first half of a 12 months on American roads since 2006, NHTSA mentioned. It was the biggest six-month enhance recorded for the reason that present tracing system has been in use since 1975.

Cliff, a former California Air Sources Board official who since February has served as NHTSA’s deputy administrator.

Cliff mentioned a brand new infrastructure invoice will increase NHTSA’s funds by 50 % and “will enhance our understanding of the place and the way crashes occur by bettering information high quality and increasing digital reporting to maneuver from paper-based information assortment methods to digital methods.”

Cliff has been a key determine within the Biden administration’s proposed rewrite of auto gasoline financial system requirements by means of 2026 and is overseeing its security investigation of EV maker Tesla Inc.

Throughout his testimony, he mentioned he hopes the company can full its investigations into Tesla quickly.

Cliff was requested concerning the company’s probes into Tesla and he mentioned “we hope to have these investigations wrapped up quickly.” He mentioned he didn’t have a “exact timeline.”

The company, a part of the U.S. Transportation Division, faces a backlog of pending auto security rules and has not had a Senate-confirmed administrator since January 2017, the month when Republican former President Donald Trump took workplace.

NHTSA and the EPA in August proposed reversing the Trump administration’s rollback of Company Common Gas Financial system guidelines. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. has skilled a sustained enhance in site visitors deaths that NHTSA attributes to impaired driving, dashing, a failure to put on seatbelts and different unsafe habits.

The Biden administration may unveil last gasoline financial system and car greenhouse fuel emissions guidelines as quickly as subsequent 12 months, officers instructed Reuters.

“I’m dedicated to creating the transportation fleet as environment friendly as doable, to save lots of shoppers billions of {dollars} on the pump, to enhance the nation’s vitality safety and to guard the setting,” Cliff’s testimony says.

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