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Using motor vehicle safety legislation to end federal preemption

This draft amendment sponsored by Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) has been circulating prior to today's House Commerce Committee mark-up of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. Excerpt:

(a) PREAMBLES ISSUED FROM 2005-2008 Notwithstanding any statement to the contrary made during the notice and comment rulemaking in connection with Federal regulations issued by the National Highway Traf7 fic Safety Administration during the years 2005-2008, any final or interim final regulation adopted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration during that time period shall not preempt any action under State law seeking damages for personal injury, death, or property damage.

Notwithstanding any provision law, the Secretary of Transportation shall not publish a rule that seeks to preempt State law without notice in the Federal Register and the opportunity to comment, absent a clear showing that the Secretary was unable to provide notice and comment due to exigent circumstances.

Braley is the former president of the Iowa Trial Lawyers Association and has associated with himself with the American Association for Justice's efforts against preemption.

UPDATE (1:20 p.m.): The Braley amendment would also expand liability for car rental or leasing companies. As a multi-industry trade association letter opposing the amendment explains:

This amendment would repeal a provision in SAFETEA-LU, known as the Graves Amendment, which was enacted to shield innocent businesses, which rent or lease motor vehicles, from being held liable for the negligent actions of vehicle drivers. To repeal this provision would expose these businesses to costly litigation through no fault of their own.

The National Association of Manufacturers, my employers, was one of the groups to join the letter.

UPDATE (4:10 p.m.): The subcommittee reported the bill out without the Braley amendment.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.