As of Thursday (July 27), the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation has officially transferred the AM For Every Vehicle Act to the Senate floor. The bill is eligible for a full Senate vote, though no date has yet been set.
The AM For Every Vehicle Act would mandate that AM radios be included in automobiles as a safety feature. Under the bill, the Department of Transportation would issue a rule requiring all new motor vehicles manufactured in the United States, imported to the United States or shipped in interstate commerce after the rule’s effective date, to have devices that can access AM broadcast stations or digital audio AM broadcast stations installed as standard equipment. AM broadcast stations are often used to deliver emergency alerts and news.
Prior to the effective date of the rule, manufacturers that do not include devices that can access AM broadcast stations as standard equipment must inform purchasers of this fact through clear and conspicuous labeling.
In the Senate, the AM for Every Vehicle Act is being led by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Ted Cruz (R-TX). A House companion bill is led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) as well as co-leads Reps. Tom Kean, Jr. (NJ-7), Rob Menendez (NJ-8), Bruce Westerman (AR-4) and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-3).
The legislation comes as Volkswagen, Audi, Volvo and more have taken AM radio from electric vehicles, while Ford revealed in April that “most new and updated 2024” models would discontinue the technology, before backtracking on the pledge. In total, eight of the world’s 20 top carmakers have removed the broadcast format from electric vehicles as streaming becomes the dominant source of listening in Bluetooth-equipped cars.
“No pressing issue may be bigger than the fate of radio in automotive dashboards,” radio consultant Fred Jacobs wrote in April, citing his Jacobs Media Group listener study which showed that 75% of new car buyers rank Bluetooth as “very important” compared to 71% for FM radio and just 32% for AM radio.