The U.S. Department of Transportation is issuing Federal policy for self-driving vehicles, laying a path for the safe testing and deployment automated technologies.
“Automated vehicles have the potential to save thousands of lives, driving the single biggest leap in road safety that our country has ever taken,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
“This policy is an unprecedented step by the federal government to harness the benefits of transformative technology by providing a framework for how to do it safely.”
The policy sets a proactive approach to providing safety assurance and facilitating innovation through four key parts. Vehicle performance guidance uses a 15-point Safety Assessment to set clear expectations for manufacturers developing and deploying automated vehicle technologies. Model state policy delineates the Federal and State roles for the regulation of highly automated vehicle technologies as part of an effort to build a consistent national framework of laws to govern self-driving vehicles. Finally, the policy outlines options for the further use of current federal authorities to expedite the safe introduction of highly automated vehicles into the marketplace, as well as discusses new tools and authorities the federal government may need as the technology evolves and is deployed more widely.
“Ninety-four percent of crashes on U.S. roadways are caused by a human choice or error,” said NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind. “We are moving forward on the safe deployment of automated technologies because of the enormous promise they hold to address the overwhelming majority of crashes and save lives.”
The Federal Automated Vehicle Policy is a product of significant public input and stakeholder discussions, including two open public meetings this year and an open public docket for comments. The Department is also soliciting additional public comments for the next 60 days on the policy, which is published at www.transportation.gov/AV. DOT intends to update the policy annually.
Colleen Sheehey-Church, National President, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), said: “MADD is proud to support the Department as it releases its policy on automated vehicles because we see a future where self-driving cars will save thousands of lives on our roads. A self-driving car can’t get drunk. A self-driving car can’t get distracted. And a self-driving car will follow the traffic laws and prioritize safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.”