WASHINGTON - A key lawmaker warned that creating a rollover rating system for cars and trucks may not be the best way for the Clinton administration to spend taxpayer money allocated for traffic safety.
Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., chairman of the Senate subcommittee that writes the Transportation Department's annual spending legislation, said he doubts consumers lack knowledge about which vehicles are more likely to roll over.
At a hearing, he also asked Rosalyn Millman, acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which of the available options would be most effective in cutting rollover deaths.
She said increased seat-belt use would save lives by preventing ejection. Nevertheless, she said the agency's plan for rollover ratings will be 'a good proposal.' It is expected to be linked to the five-star rating system already used for occupant protection in frontal and side-impact crashes.
The Clinton administration has asked Congress for a 36 percent increase in funding for NHTSA for fiscal 2001, to a total of $499 million, in part to pay for expanded crash testing and for the rollover rating program.