NSPE Urges California to Revise Proposed Autonomous Vehicle Regulations That Do Not Adequately Protect the Public

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

NSPE submitted public comment to the California Department of Motor Vehicles urging major revisions to proposed autonomous vehicle regulations in order to ensure public safety.

Recognizing the promise of autonomous vehicles, NSPE has been a leading advocate for the need to place the public health, safety, and welfare first and require a licensed professional engineer to play a key role in the development, testing, and safety certification of AVs. NSPE is, therefore, very disappointed and concerned by the CDMV’s proposed regulations issued on March 10, which enable fully autonomous testing and deployment without requiring any third-party certification.

In the public comment, NSPE President Kodi Verhalen, P.E., Esq, F.NSPE states, “The rush to deploy autonomous vehicles seems to ignore the technological, ethical, and safety challenges, as well as public sentiment. We urge the CDMV to seriously reconsider the proposed regulations; require the continued use of a human driver; reinstate third-party certification requirements; require data collection and retention for accident reconstruction and evaluation; and require a professional engineer to play a key role in the careful development of autonomous vehicle technologies before considering deployment…As more decisions related to the public health, safety, and welfare are removed from the driver and given to the car’s technology, the CDMV has a duty itself to ensure the appropriate safeguards are in place for rigorous pre-deployment testing, which NSPE recommends be verified by a licensed PE, whose own duty is to hold the public health, safety, and welfare paramount.”