US government will work with car makers on safety issues

The DOT calls it a 'historic agreement.'

The US Department of Transportation has joined together with 18 automakers to announce a new set of safety principles, which will hopefully help catch vehicle defects before they become serious enough to require recalls. In a blog post today, the agency points out it's already formed a similar agreement with the aviation industry, which pushes airlines to share safety data. The agreement will also make it easier for car makers to contact consumers and get their vehicles repaired, the DOT says.

And, naturally, it will also help with potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities. "We will engage our best cybersecurity minds, share known vulnerabilities and countermeasures, and adopt best practices from within as well as outside of the auto industry," DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx (above) said.

Given the amount of recalls we're seeing these days, as well as the fact that cars are getting increasingly connected, it makes sense for the DOT to push for even more safety transparency with car makers. At this point, though, the pact is basically just a bunch of rhetoric that we hope car companies will follow. It'll be interesting to see if any of them actually adhere to the new safety principles over the next few years, as well as if the DOT chooses to enforce them.

The news comes just a day after the DOT and Obama administration announced that they'll have a "national blueprint" for self-driving cars by July. They're also kicking off a $4 billion self-driving car program that will support development of the technology for the next decade.

[Photo credit: AP Photo/Paul Sancya]