Detroit Free Press: Lawmakers at auto show welcome industry's resurgence

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters said he's impressed with the technology on display at Cobo Center for the auto show and expects it will also help make cars safer.

"These are just cutting-edge vehicles," Peters, of Bloomfield Township, said Monday while touring the North American International Auto Show in downtown Detroit. "Best-in-class vehicles that are being made here in Michigan or in the United States, and so I'm very, very proud of what I'm seeing."

U.S. auto industry sales reached 16.5 million last year, the highest since 2006, and executives are already predicting another big year. But 2014 was also a record year for recalls, with General Motors' ignition-switch problems and faulty Takata air bags affecting 10 manufacturers.

Peters, a Democrat who serves on the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, said he anticipates hearings regarding the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and will be researching whether it faces any challenges regulating the industry.

"Certainly we have to be focused on consumer safety," Peters said, "to make sure that when you're driving a vehicle, that you can feel comfortable that you're safe and your family is safe when you're in there."

He said the manufacturers "obviously want to produce safe cars as well," and that it's important for regulators and the industry to work together. Innovations such as devices that help ensure cars are properly spaced on roads are among those he hopes will keep motorists safer, he said.

Source: Detroit Free Press