WASHINGTON, DC –Today, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation filed official comments with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding a proposed policy and guidance surrounding automated vehicles or self-driving cars.Released in September, the long-awaited guidance from the Agency was a first step in attempting to regulate this burgeoning technology. The guidance included a model policy for states to better understand how such vehicles are tested and used on the road as well as a recommended 15-point safety assessment for manufacturers to follow to ensure autonomous vehicles are safely designed,developed, tested and deployed.
Generally,the guidance was accepted as a positive first step, but very quickly opposing sides materialized with differing views on non-mandatory guidelines versus regulations, the scope of the federal government and effect on preemption for those states that have already begun to address the vehicles in state law, and general concerns over how to ensure safety within a technology that is so rapidly evolving.
Representing the voice of the millions of street motorcyclists in the U.S., the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) thoroughly reviewed the proposed policies as well as attended Agency workshops, congressional hearings and other forums to better understand how this technology and these policies would consider and ensure the safety of motorcyclists on the road. The organization’s thoughts are captured in extensive comments filed with the Agency, which can be viewed by clicking on the below link: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=NHTSA-2016-0090-0001.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Congressional Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade examined the issue of self-driving vehicles. Members of the Committee used the hearing to explore the potential impact of automated vehicles on the nation’s roadways. Chairman Michael Burgess (R-TX) who chairs the Committee stated in his opening remarks that holding the hearing would allow Congress to better understand the safety and economic opportunities these vehicles present. The hearing was also used as a forum to discuss the Department of Transportation’s recently issued guidance on automated vehicles, which is currently under review.
Witnesses at the hearing spoke about the many positive attributes that self-driving vehicles hold including the future potential to eliminate human error from car crashes thus reducing the overall crash statistics in the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator Mark Rosekind was quick to point out that overall crash rates in 2016 were likely to increase by 10% and that typically, 94% of these are due to human error. There was hope by many on the Committee that this figure could be greatly reduced or eliminated with the eventual emergence of fully automated vehicles; still expected to be some years away.
However, detractors and safety advocates who also spoke as expert witnesses cautioned Congress and NHTSA not to rush forward with attempts to get fully automated vehicles on the road quickly. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) agreed, saying that while autonomous vehicles had the potential to be great for safety, they also had the potential to be a disaster. The outcome of which greatly depended on how these vehicles are regulated and guaranteed safe, she added.