Federal Vehicles Will be Guinea Pigs for New Safety Devices

A Border Patrol vehicle drives in San Diego, CA A Border Patrol vehicle drives in San Diego, CA Lenny Ignelzi/AP

The agency that leases the bulk of federal vehicles is joining with the top highway safety regulator to test cars and trucks and pursue technological innovations.

In a joint announcement Tuesday, the General Services Administration and the Transportation Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said they would begin evaluating safety devices on all federally leased vehicles and create a pilot research program to identify promising new safety technologies.

The memorandum of understanding also includes plans to coordinate between the agencies to share information on potential defects; ensure that vehicles recalled by their manufacturer are repaired properly and promptly; and incorporate current understanding of safety technology into governmentwide policy affecting the fleet.

“Hi-tech innovation plays a critical role in everything we do here at GSA, from ordering basic supplies with a simple tap of a screen to controlling energy consumption for millions of square feet of federal space with one click,” GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini said. “We’re excited to bring this same level of innovation to the federal fleet program in an effort to adopt the best safety measures possible for federal drivers and the American people.”

NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman added, "Safety is our top priority. That’s why NHTSA is excited about teaming up with GSA to help ensure the right vehicle safety technologies are available across the federal fleet and that valuable information is shared across agencies so we can help make our roadways the safest in the world."

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