Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Congressman Says Make AM a Mandatory Car Safety Feature

Gottheimer also supports federal spending on AM infrastructure to assure continuity of service

Representative Josh Gottheimer speaks at a press event near a Tesla dealership in Paramus, New Jersey
Rep. Josh Gottheimer speaks at his press event in support of AM radio.

A congressman from New Jersey wants the government to add AM radio to the list of safety equipment that carmakers must include in their vehicles.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer has called on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to “add AM radio to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards to require that all automakers, including EV manufacturers, include AM radio as a stock feature in their vehicles. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards are the minimum safety standards that a manufacturer must meet when making a vehicle — including requirements related to airbags, brakes, seatbelts, tires, controls and displays.”

The National Association of Broadcasters welcomed his effort.

Gottheimer, a Democrat who represents a district along the state’s northern border, held a news event next to a Tesla dealership in Paramus, N.J., along with New Jersey Broadcasters Association Executive Director Jordan Walton.

The congressman said he is writing to the major electric vehicle makers, including Tesla, “urging them to reconsider their decision to discontinue AM radio in their cars and trucks and to include the public safety tool as a stock feature.” He cited AM radio’s role during the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Sandy as examples (read his letter).

He also said he wants to ensure that AM stations remain safe and intact during national emergencies “through federal investment in backup power, hardening antennas and towers, and supporting key communications equipment for AM radio stations.”

[Read more coverage of AM radio in cars.]

Major carmaker Ford recently signaled that it plans to phase out AM in most of its vehicles, not just EVs. Other carmakers vary widely in their comments about AM in electric and other vehicles. Tesla has said that electronic noise “causes severe disruption to AM radio transmission that makes the signal reception unstable and unusable.”

“I would think that if Elon Musk has enough money to buy Twitter and send rockets to space, he can afford to include AM radio in his Teslas,” Gottheimer said in his announcement.

“Instead, Elon Musk and Tesla and other car manufacturers are putting public safety and emergency response at risk. … When the cell phone runs out, the internet gets cut off, or the television doesn’t work because of no electricity or power to your house, you can still turn on your AM radio.”

You can watch the event below.