NSPE Advocates for Safety as Lawmakers Draft AV Legislation

Monday, December 16, 2019

NSPE again has raised public safety concerns about the development of autonomous vehicles. In this case, House and Senate staffers are drafting bipartisan legislation, but NSPE has criticized the draft’s lack of a required review of safety self-assessments.

NSPE favors third-party verification of AVs as an important step in safety management. Additionally, requiring the review of self-assessments can ensure that manufacturers are holding safety paramount and not putting the public at risk when testing their vehicles.

The National Transportation Safety Board also supports expert assessment of safety measures. Following its investigation of a 2018 incident in which an automated test vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona, the NSTB recommended that developers of automated driving systems submit reports detailing their safety measures. The NTSB also recommended that an expert task group should evaluate those reports.

In the first round of the drafting process, staffers addressed the topics of exemptions from the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, expansion of testing under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, and advisory committees. This most recent round touched on definitions for the new bill, the roles of federal, state, and local actors, and rulemaking processes, which would create federal standards for automated vehicles.

Senate Commerce Committee staff contacted NSPE in August 2019 to solicit feedback on topics that this new automated vehicle bill would cover. NSPE will continue to provide feedback and ensure the PE voice is heard in the drafting of this new legislation.