Federal legislation moves forward on autonomous vehicles

Autonomous Vehicle Legislation

AV legislation is being discussed and drafted worldwide on the road to automation. Just this month the UK released their guidelines, and in the United States conversations are moving along more quickly than usual. Here is a brief from our friends at Atkins Global:


To begin, the legislation we describe in detail below is being considered by the US House of Representatives. The US Senate is also working on their own version of AV-related bills, so as fast-moving as these bills are, they still need to clear the House and the Senate. It is reasonable to think that some version of AV-related federal legislation won’t clear both chambers immediately and the Senate bill(s) will be introduced sometime in September 2017.

What exactly is this? 

On July 27 in a 54-0 vote, the House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously passed the DECAL Act (HR 3388), a bill related to automated vehicles. We haven’t seen the Senate version yet, and the House bill was not approved by the full House. Here are some key considerations for the DECAL Act:

  • Congress clearly wants the federal government to take the lead on any public policy regarding automated vehicles.

  • Congress also wants to define the role of states and IOOs, including:

    • Vehicle registration

    • Licensing

    • Driver education and training

    • Insurance

    • Law enforcement

    • Crash investigations 

    • Safety and emissions inspections

    • Congestion management of vehicles on the street

    • IOOs may prescribe higher performance standards than federal

  • The bill would:

    • Require cybersecurity plans and points of contact from all manufacturers of any vehicle with any automation.

    • Require privacy protection plans and points of contact from all manufacturers of any vehicle with any automation.

    • Increase the annual number of vehicles that may be exempted from certain regulatory standards in order to facilitate the development of automated vehicles. 

    • Establish through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) a Highly Automated Vehicle Information Sharing Advisory Council to make recommendations regarding the development of a framework that allows manufacturers of highly automated vehicles to share information related to testing or deployment events on public streets.

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