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Senate approves auto upgrades

Published:Sunday | June 13, 2010 | 12:00 AM

WASHINGTON (AP):

A Senate committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would require automakers to meet new safety standards, impose stiff penalties for companies that fail to quickly report defects and double funding for the government agency overseeing car safety.

The Senate Commerce Committee plan is part of a move by lawmakers to tighten the nation's auto safety laws following Toyota's massive recalls.

"This is a critical public safety bill that will affect the lives of millions of Americans on the road," Senator Jay Rockefeller, the committee's chairman, said.

Congress hopes to approve the safety legislation by the July 4 holiday recess. It represents the most significant reforms to auto safety rules since the Bridgestone/Firestone Inc tyre recalls of a decade ago.