Don’t Deprive Drivers of Radio Emergency Alerts

Target: Ann Carlson, Administrator of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Goal: Ensure every vehicle comes equipped with AM radio and its robust emergency alert system.

AM radio has been a fixture for decades, but now many auto manufacturers want to remove its availability. Major players like Tesla and Ford have already begun removing AM radio from their newer electric vehicle (EV) models, claiming a vehicle’s electric motor may interfere with signals. Even some traditional autos might undergo this change because of the supposed decline in popularity of AM radio. Emergency experts, however, are sounding the alarm about these plans.

Former leaders of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) believe AM radio plays a vital role during emergencies due to the prominence of the National Public Warning System on its airwaves. Alerts made via this system sound the alarm about critical incidents where time is of the essence, such as imminent natural disasters. Radio may be the only way to get important information across to individuals traveling in their cars. Moreover, AM radio has a much more extensive and stronger reach across the country than FM radio, which is more prone to loss of signals. Plus, AM frequencies are resistant to forces like pulses from nuclear explosions or solar storms that might fell other means of communication. If the nation ever experienced a cataclysmic disaster, AM radio could be the only available means of sending and receiving urgent messages.

Critics of AM radio removal contend that this move puts auto buyers at risk, especially when techniques do exist that could solve the EV interference problem. They are calling on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to add AM radio to its list of safety standards for automobiles. Sign the petition below to join these calls to save an essential public service for drivers.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Administrator Carlson,

It’s cheap, it reaches over thousands of miles and roughly 47 million consumers on a daily basis, and for millions more it is a life-saving alert system during emergencies. AM radio has withstood every test of time and has the ability to withstand every worst-case-scenario future test. Yet an increasing number of automakers want to drop the service entirely.

They claim that AM radio could still be received via streaming services and similar methods, but what happens when a serious disaster brings these other services down? The countless commuters who spend hours in their vehicles will have no warning during a time when minutes, or even seconds, might matter. These manufacturers also cite the inconvenience of electric motors possibly interfering with radio signals, but what about the noise interference managers—including AM receivers—that these same manufacturers have used for years? Cost-cutting should not come at the expense of consumer protection.

Ditching AM radio on the road is not a benefit for consumers but a dangerous hazard. Please enshrine this service’s importance by adding AM radio to your Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Ssindre Fs


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