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John Sarbanes
Auto safety bill is scaled back in face of industry opposition
Auto safety bill is scaled back in face of industry opposition

The sweeping legislation that grew out of Toyota Motor Corp.'s sudden-acceleration crisis — heralded as the most important auto safety bill in a decade — has been scaled back significantly in the face of auto industry opposition. The bill originally gave federal officials the power to levy unlimited fines against automakers for safety violations, which regulators said could have resulted in multibillion-dollar penalties. But the House version now caps fines at $200 million. In addition, a provision to set first-ever safety standards for vehicle electronics was watered down so that the secretary of Transportation would only have to "consider" them, with the...

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