NHTSA Announces Historic Rule to Modernize Driverless Vehicle Safety Standards
Historic step removes unnecessary barriers to motor vehicles equipped with automated driving systemsJanuary 14, 2021
May 22, 2019 | Washington, DC
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today issued advance notices of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) on the removal of unnecessary regulatory barriers to the safe introduction of automated driving systems (ADS) vehicles in the United States. NHTSA and FMCSA are seeking comments at this stage to ensure that all potential approaches are fully considered as the agencies move forward with these regulatory actions.
“One of the Department’s priorities is to prepare for the future by engaging with new technology while addressing legitimate public concerns about safety, security, and privacy, without hampering innovation,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
NHTSA seeks comment on identifying and addressing regulatory barriers to the deployment of ADS vehicles posed by certain existing Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). The agency is also interested in hearing from the public on various approaches that could be used to measure compliance with the FMVSS for vehicles without conventional controls, including steering wheels and brake pedals. Public comments received during this stage will help inform NHTSA’s path forward.
The ANPRM released by FMCSA seeks public comment on questions regarding several key regulatory areas to better understand how changes to its rules can account for significant differences between human operators and ADS. These questions focus on topics such as: requirements of human drivers; commercial driver's license (CDL) endorsements; Hours of Service rules; medical qualifications; distracted driving; safe driving, inspection, repair, and maintenance; roadside inspections; and cybersecurity.
“Our mission is to protect Americans on our roads,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi R. King. “As automated driving systems develop, NHTSA will continue to adapt to make sure the agency is equipped to ensure public safety while encouraging innovation.”
“FMCSA is hoping to receive feedback from commercial motor vehicle stakeholders and the motoring public on how the agency should adapt its regulations for the development of increased automated driving systems in large trucks and buses. We know that while many of these technologies are still in development, it is critical that we carefully examine how to make federal rules keep up with this advancing technology,” said FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez.
Both notices will have a 60-day comment period, which commences with the ANPRM’s formal publication in the Federal Register. The public is strongly encouraged to submit their comments to the Federal Register dockets.