On September 6, 2017, the House of Representatives passed the Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research In Vehicle Evolution (“SELF DRIVE”) Act, H.R. 3388. All eyes are now on the Senate, which is drafting its own bill.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee touts the SELF DRIVE Act as improving NHTSA’s “ability to adapt federal safety standards to this emerging technology, and clarify[ing] federal and state roles with respect to self-driving cars.” See https://energycommerce.house.gov/news/house-passes-bipartisan-legislation-paving-way-self-driving-cars-americas-roads/. As previously covered here on Dashboard Insights, the bipartisan SELF DRIVE Act proposes to present a clear path for the testing, development, and deployment of highly-automated vehicles by, among other things:
The SELF DRIVE Act also includes what is likely a nod to consumer advocates by mandating that NHTSA promulgate a rule requiring passenger vehicles to be equipped with a system that alerts the operator to check the rear seats after the vehicle is turned off. The Act also would require NHTSA to research the development of updated headlamp standards and to revise those standards based upon the agency’s findings.
Within the Senate, there is bipartisan interest in legislation that addresses issues related to automated vehicles. In June of this year, Senators John Thune (R.-S.D.) (Chairman of the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) (Ranking Member), and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) released their “Principles for Bipartisan Legislation on Self-Driving,” the basic elements of which include:
Most of these principles are addressed by the SELF DRIVE Act.
On September 13, 2017, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee is scheduled to convene a hearing titled “Transportation Innovation: Automated Trucks and Our Nation’s Highways,” during which the Committee will hear testimony from representatives of manufacturers, law enforcement, commercial vehicle operators, public interest groups, and labor unions. The stated focus of the hearing is to “examine the benefits of automated truck safety technology” and to look at the potential impacts this technology could have on jobs and the economy. (The hearing notice is available here: https://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/pressreleases?ID=BAC7FBCE-424B-4C61-8082-71B3E3D9333B)
Dashboard Insights will continue to follow and report on legislative developments.