Bill Introduced Targeting Vehicular Terror Attacks

Written on 12/13/2017

Legislation developed in aftermath of terrorist using rented truck to kill 8 in Manhattan weeks ago

“Shielding Public Spaces from Vehicular Terrorism Act” instructs DHS to develop tools to address evolving terror tactics

Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, introduced the Shielding Public Spaces from Vehicular Terrorism Act to better protect the homeland and keep Americans safe. The legislation requires the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate to research and develop new tools and effective safeguards to combat emerging terrorist threats, including vehicular attacks.


Congressman Donovan said, “Just this week, we were reminded of the heightened terror environment our nation faces when an ISIS inspired operative detonated a bomb in a New York City subway. Not only are these types of lone wolf attacks becoming all too common, but terrorists are increasingly turning everyday tools, such as vehicles, into weapons. Violent extremists will continue to try and undermine our way of life, and it’s necessary that we bolster our anti-terror capabilities. This legislation will help us do just that.”


The bill also ensures that first responders can use vital Homeland Security Grant Program and Urban Area Security Initiative funding to address security vulnerabilities of public spaces, such as bus stops, bike paths, and other mass gathering locations.


The legislation was developed in response to the deadly October vehicle terror attack in Manhattan. That incident, as well as other attacks across the globe, show that terrorists are increasingly using vehicles as weapons. Recent testimony from DHS Deputy Secretary Elaine Duke also highlighted the need to strengthen defenses against attacks using simple methods, including “guns, knives, vehicles, and other common items.”


Donovan has made enhancing national security defenses a priority during his time in Congress. He recently joined Rep. Espaillat (NY-13) to introduce the Stopping Threats on Pedestrians (STOP) Act, bipartisan legislation that provides funding to cities to install safety bollards in high pedestrian areas to prevent attacks. Additionally, the House passed three homeland security bills sponsored by Donovan, which bulk up the country’s protections against nuclear, transit, and cybersecurity threats.