The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety told lawmakers in a letter on September 5 that expanding the cap on safety exemptions to 100,000 vehicles per year could be risky and that the bill's preemption of state authority is overly broad.
The goal of the "Self Drive Act" is to establish a federal framework for the regulation of self-driving cars. The group also urged additional funding for NHTSA. A bipartisan group of US senators dealing with similar legislation has not introduced a bill. "Self-driving technology for trucks and other large vehicles has emerged as a pivotal issue in Congress' attempt to help usher in a new era of transportation", said Senator Thune. According to Rogers, this legislation strives to turn over the power to the cities and states so they can regulate, restrict, or reject self-driving vehicles within individual communities.
The issue has taken on new urgency since US road deaths rose 7.7 percent in 2015, the highest annual jump since 1966.
Current federal rules prohibit self-driving cars without human controls on US roads.
The companies are anxious to avoid a quagmire of confusing and often contradictory state and local laws and regulations while they try to figure out the complexities of the self-driving systems that will make autonomous cars possible.More news: Trump, WH Not Trying to Interfere in Mueller's Russia Probe - FBI Director
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Initially, authors proposed to allow automakers and others to sell up to 100,000 vehicles immediately. "Approximately 20 percent of Floridians are over the age of 65, and self-driving cars hold the power to safely put them back in the driver's seat of their lives by providing them with greater independence and mobility".
Under the House proposal, states could still set rules on registration, licensing, liability, insurance and safety inspections, but could not set self-driving vehicle performance standards.
Basically, the proposed bill would make it possible for companies including Ford, Waymo, GM's Cruise and others to bypass some safety standards that now apply to human piloted cars, including requirements like that they have steering wheels and gas pedals on board. The department confirmed late Tuesday it plans to unveil the new guidelines next week.
"This bill includes some important new safeguards but doesn't do enough to protect consumers or ensure that self-driving cars actually improve safety".
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and coalitions of groups backing automated vehicles, including vehicle and auto parts trade associations, and groups representing the blind, praised passage.