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Advocates Push For Improved Safety Standards In Transportation Bill

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Some worry that improved seat belt standards might be stripped from the Senate transportation bill.
Benjamin Goodger: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bengoodger/5167426715/
Some worry that improved seat belt standards might be stripped from the Senate transportation bill.

Safety advocates say this summer's driving season is a good reminder to improve safety standards in the transportation bill being debated on Capitol Hill.

The transportation bill that came out of the Senate includes tighter safety standards for D.C.'s Metro system, but advocates fear new standards for the nation's highways might be stripped out. The Senate version improves seat belt, braking and accelerator standards. Jackie Gillan, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, says now that summer is here negotiators should be even more mindful of the need for safety reforms.

"Last year between Labor Day and Memorial Day weekend, 9,500 people were killed just in that 99 day period," said Gillan. "Ninety-five-hundred people killed, just in highway crashes."

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) says he’s concerned some of those provisions will be stripped out during the ongoing negotiations on the transportation bill.

“I get worried, you know, as we get closer and closer to a time when we may see a transportation bill on the floor that backroom deals will be made without a lot of debate and without a lot of transparency,” he says. “We’re here to tell the conferees that we’re watching and we’re here to stand up to safety."

The government's latest data for this region shows more than a thousand people died from deadly highway crashes two years ago. House and Senate negotiators are hoping to have a final bill by the end of June.

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