[Request for Analysis of Legislative Veto in Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act]

B-213984: Published: May 22, 1984. Publicly Released: Jun 21, 1985.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO analyzed a legislative veto provided by the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act concerning occupant restraint systems because the Supreme Court has generally declared legislative vetoes unconstitutional. An examination of existing legislative veto provisions was requested to determine whether the unconstitutional portions could be severed from the remainder of the underlying statute. GAO was also asked if the universal airbag standard would constitute a design restriction rather than a performance criterion for crash protection. GAO concluded that the veto in question is severable, legally enabling the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration to promulgate an airbag-only standard, provided it observes the heightened administrative procedures required by the law. In addition, GAO concluded that mandating airbags does not set a design standard and that an airbag standard can be validly considered a performance standard.

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