New data released today confirms that 37,133 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2017


Washington (October 3, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today called for more federal action to reduce the staggering number of automobile fatalities on our nation’s roads last year. Today, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that 37,133 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2017.


“One death on our nation’s roads is one too many – but over 37,000 is an absolute emergency which demands swift and aggressive federal action,” said Senator Markey. “To ensure all of our loved ones can safely travel on our nation’s roads, we must establish cybersecurity safeguards for our vehicles, disclose critical safety information to the public, and ensure that NHTSA, our automobile safety cop-on-the-beat, implements several congressionally mandated safety rulemakings.”


Last year, Senators Markey and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) reintroduced the Security and Privacy in Your Car (SPY Car) Act, which directs NHTSA and the Federal Trade Commission to establish federal standards to secure our cars from cyberattacks and protect drivers’ privacy. The legislation also establishes a rating system – or “cyber dashboard” – that informs consumers about how well the vehicle protects drivers’ security and privacy beyond those minimum standards. In 2014, Senator Markey released the report “Tracking & Hacking: Security & Privacy Gaps Put American Drivers at Risk,” which detailed major gaps in how auto companies are securing connected features in cars against hackers.


In April, Senators Markey and Blumenthal sent a letter urging NHTSA to complete many overdue safety rulemakings without delay. NHTSA has missed at least ten key statutory rulemaking deadlines under the 2012 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, putting drivers, passengers and the public at risk. These rulemakings include rear seatbelt reminders, updating tire pressure monitoring regulations, retention of safety records by auto manufacturers, and improved child LATCH restraint systems, among others.


In August, Senators Markey and Blumenthal reintroduced the Early Warning Reporting System Improvement Act, which will ensure auto manufacturers provide more information about incidents involving fatalities and serious injuries to the public. The Senator’s legislation will require NHTSA to make the information it receives from auto manufacturers publicly available in a searchable, user-friendly format so that consumers and independent safety experts can evaluate potential safety defects themselves.