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Ways the Jobs and Infrastructure Bill Could Change Cars

Infrastructure and the Future of Cars
Infrastructure and the Future of Cars

On November 15, President Biden signed the Jobs and Infrastructure Bill into law. This thousand-page behemoth is wide-ranging, and it includes some potential changes to the way cars are put together. The primary purpose of all of these changes are an attempt to make our commutes a little bit safer. Here’s what you have to know.

 

Infrastructure and the Future of Cars

New vehicle safety feature mandates are on the way

1. Anti-rolling study

Unattended rollaway vehicles are a minor danger all told, but they claim multiple lives every year. From the November 15 signing date, the Secretary of Transportation has a year to conduct a study to determine the cost and benefits of mandating technology that would prevent vehicles with automatic transmissions and keyless ignition from rolling away.

2. Automatic engine shutoffs

An idling internal combustion engine famously produces deadly carbon monoxide. The bill mandates the inclusion of a system that would automatically turn these vehicles off if they idled in place for too long, with a time set by how much carbon monoxide the vehicle in question emits.

This one is entirely dependent on chips, and you might have heard about the present chip shortage that’s playing havoc on inventory. With that in mind, this portion of the bill isn’t scheduled to be enforced until September 1, and look for that to be pushed if the chip shortage isn’t resolved sooner rather than later.

3. Rear seat reminder

You’re probably familiar with rear seat reminders, installed to remind drivers if they have a kid or pet in the backseat before exiting a vehicle. The Secretary of Transportation has two years from the signing of the bill to determine if these will become mandated in any vehicle of 10,000 lbs or less.

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4. Driver-assistance measures

The bill includes language allowing the Secretary of Transportation to determine what date to mandate forward-collision warning, automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping systems.

5. Headlights are getting better

Adaptive driving beam headlights are well-known in the rest of the world, and they’re finally coming here. The Secretary of Transportation has two years to amend the safety standards to include this exciting and life-saving technology.

The bill also includes provisions to create a performance standard for headlights. Expect a rating system for headlight performance in the near future.

6. Anti-DUI technology

Drunk driving is still a deadly hazard on the roads. The Jobs and Infrastructure Bill gives automakers three years to come up with technology to prevent driving under the influence.

7. Hoods and bumpers are changing

In an effort to make collisions with pedestrians moderately safer for the pedestrian, the bill requires the Secretary of Transportation to submit a notice of update for these parts within two years. To see how this might change the profiles of American cars, one need only look to the European Union. They changed impact standards and styling followed.

Additionally, the bill includes language that requires connected systems to take pedestrians and cyclists into account when deploying features. This seems pretty chip-heavy, so look for this technology to appear later than any styling changes.

These changes aren’t going to be implemented overnight, with most of them having some action demanded in two years. They can be great ways to address safety concerns from potential buyers, so keep an eye on them.

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Author Justin Robinson-Prickett

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