DOT Releases Safety System Implementation Plan for New Cars
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has determined that widespread use of electronic accident prevention systems in vehicles could prevent more than 48 percent of rear-end, run-off-road, and lane change crashes. This finding resulted from the Integrated Vehicle Based Safety Systems (IVBSS) initiative report that described the government plan to introduce these safety systems in new cars.
Such a plan could reduce crashes by as many as 1.8 million per year. The IVBSS report explains the technologies necessary to equip all new vehicles with advanced driver assistance systems that would help drivers avoid the most common types of accidents that may result in deaths. By establishing a partnership with the automotive and commercial vehicle industries, the U.S. DOT hopes to accelerate the introduction of integrated vehicle-based safety systems into the nation's new vehicle fleet.
Bill Introduced to Create National Purchasing Pools for Health Insurance
The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP Act) was introduced through H.R. 6210 June 9. The bill is co-sponsored by Ways and Means Committee members Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., and Rep. Phil English, R-Pa. The purpose of the legislation is to make health insurance more affordable for small businesses and the self-employed. Specifically, the bill would allow those who qualify to join a statewide or nationwide pool to obtain lower health insurance prices by spreading their risk over a larger number of participants.
The legislation would provide small business owners tax credits of up to $1,000 per employee annually ($2,000 for family coverage) if they pay for 60 percent of their employees' premiums. A bonus tax credit would also be included if they pay for more than 60 percent of the premiums, as well as a $1,800 annual tax credit for the self-employed ($3,600 for family coverage) to purchase health insurance. Finally, bill language aims to trim health care administrative costs for small businesses. A companion bill, S. 2795, was introduced to the Senate in April by Sen. Richard "Dick" Durbin, D-Ill.
U.S. Patent Office Holds Design Protection Meeting
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) held a second Town Hall Meeting June 16 at its Alexandria, Va., headquarters. This meeting was part of the USPTO listening tour that began on May 6 in Dearborn, Mich., where many industry representatives were present. The purpose of the tour is to gather perspectives from industry stakeholders regarding industrial design protection so that the USPTO can assess which policies are best for the intellectual property system. Currently, in the United States, design patents protect the ornamental appearance of articles of manufacturing such as automobiles and replacement parts.
|The DOT Report on IVBSS findings is available on the Automotive Service Association's legislative Web site, www.TakingTheHill.com. The report can be found in the Press Center under "References and Bills." House and Senate versions of the SHOP Act (H.R. 6210 and S. 2795), as well as H.R. 5638, are also available. The bills can be found under "Track Current Legislation" under the list of Federal Bills.|
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