New Car Fees Proposed to Pay For Vehicle Safety Laws

Congressional leaders are proposing a fee of up to $9 on every new car sale to pay for a major increase in automotive safety programs, as part of a massive rewrite of auto safety laws.

While $9 doesn’t sound like a lot for a $25,000 item, for example, it adds up quickly. New car sales are predicted to be about 10 to 12 million units this year. Tacking on a fee of $9 for each new car sold equals $90 to $108 million that consumers will be giving to the government.

What do taxpayers get for that $108 million? The proposed bill would give the NHTSA the ability to order an immediate recall if it finds "an imminent hazard of death or serious injury," but would allow an automaker to seek an expedited court review, The Detroit News Reports.

Nissan Rogue

If you plan on buying a new car in the next few years, you may be charged a small fee to pay for an overhaul of the U.S. vehicle safety laws. 

The bill would require brake-override systems and event-data recorders on all vehicles. It also would require new standards for pedal configuration and require new standards to prevent pedals from getting trapped in floor mats. Automakers would get no more than two years to install the brake override systems and event data recorders on all vehicles.

Auto executives who give false statements or make misleading reports would pay civil fines of up to $250 million and possible criminal penalties. It would ban former NHTSA employees from going to work for an automaker for three years and give protection to whistleblowers.

The bill would also eliminate the maximum civil penalty allowed against automakers, which is currently $16.4 million per recall. Toyota recently was given the $16.4 million fine from the U.S. government in the wake of its safety recalls.

The bill would collect a $3 fee on all new car sales the first year. The fee would increase to $6 the second year and $9 the third year, and then increase every year after at the rate of inflation.