NHTSA is Meddling in Maryland!
Dr. Elizabeth Baker the NHTSA Region III Administrator testified against SB 239 in the Maryland State Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee hearing on February 23, 1999. SB 239 would have modified the existing Maryland all-rider helmet law to apply only to minors. It seems that NHTSA violated the provision in TEA-21 legislation that restricts their lobbying efforts and prohibits them from opposing or favoring a particular piece of state-level legislation.
Every US Senator and US Congressional Representative who represents Maryland was contacted and provided detailed information about NHTSA possibly violating the TEA-21 provision that prevents them from lobbying. Representative Roscoe Bartlett from Maryland’s 6th Congressional District is the first, so far, to act upon this information.
On April 14, 1999 Representative Bartlett sent a letter to the United States Department of Transportation Office of the Inspector General. In addition to contacting Inspector General Kenneth Mead, he sent copies of his letter to Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater, NHTSA Administrator Ricardo Martinez, and NHTSA Region III Administrator Elizabeth Baker.
His letter provided information about the TEA-21 provision and information about both the written and verbal testimony provided by Elizabeth Baker. He also enclosed a copy of the hearing tape. The Inspector General was asked to conduct a thorough investigation.
The end result of this investigation is unknown. However, the desired result would be to strengthen the anti-lobbying restriction in TEA-21 to include penalties, to chastise NHTSA for inappropriate actions, and to prevent NHTSA from lobbying in Maryland or any other state in the future.
See the full text of Representative Bartlett’s letter.