Automakers strongly support the passage of federal autonomous vehicle (AV) legislation that will help accelerate the deployment of life-saving technologies on our nation’s roadways. We are pleased to see recent momentum and bipartisan support in both chambers and look forward to working with Congress to help ensure passage.
In reviewing the Senate draft, we see many common areas with the House SELF-DRIVE Act, including cyber security provisions, clarifications for federal and state roles, expedited rulemakings, and expanded exemption opportunities that require the approval by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Senate draft also includes additional provisions for privacy and consumer education that weren’t otherwise in the House-passed bill.
While there are a number of compelling reasons to pass federal legislation, the most important factor is the potential for lives to be saved. Government data show that human choice or error is a factor in approximately 94 percent of all crashes on U.S. roads—crashes that took the lives of over 37,000 men, women, and children last year.
Proposed federal legislation helps to strengthen existing safety oversight by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and would protect against an unworkable patchwork of state and federal laws and regulations that could stifle innovation, job growth, and the development of safety technologies.
The development and eventual deployment of automated vehicle technologies also has the potential to significantly reduce the number of crashes and at the same time expand mobility options for persons with disabilities, seniors, and those who require access to more affordable transportation.
As other nations compete to bring AV technology to the marketplace, it is critical that the United States remains a leader in innovation. Passing federal autonomous vehicle legislation would help remove current roadblocks to innovation while providing additional oversight and a path towards establishing safety standards for such technologies.