Lawmakers Want to Stop Automakers From Removing AM Radios

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Lawmakers Want Cars to Have AM RadioDouglas Sacha - Getty Images

A group of U.S. lawmakers have introduced legislation to ban carmakers from removing AM radio in new vehicles.

The sponsors of the bill cite safety concerns, claiming the removal of AM radio subverts a federal system for delivering public safety announcements, according to Reuters.

One sponsor of the bill, Massachusetts senator Edward Markey, said at least eight automakers have eliminated AM radio from their EVs, including Tesla, BMW, Ford and Volkswagen.

"There is a clear public safety imperative here, federal communications commission chair Jessica Rosenworcel told Reuters. "Having AM radio available in our cars means we always have access to emergency alerts and key warnings while we are out on the road."


Lobbyists representing automakers were quick to denounce the bill, which would tell the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to set regulations on mandating AM radios in new cars free of charge.

"Mandating AM radios in all vehicles is unnecessary," Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a trade group representing several major automakers, told Reuters. "Congress has never mandated radio features in vehicles ever before. Automakers remain 100-percent committed to ensuring drivers have access to public alerts and safety warnings."

The lobbyists pointed to the Integrated Public Alert & Warning System, FEMA's nationwide alert system, which can distribute emergency information over AM, FM, internet-based radio, satellite radio, and cellular networks.

"If Elon Musk has enough money to buy Twitter and send rockets to space, he can afford to include AM radio in his Teslas," New Jersey representative Josh Gottheimer told Reuters. "Instead, Elon Musk and Tesla and other car manufacturers are putting public safety and emergency response at risk."

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