Self-driving cars are forecast to dramatically lower traffic fatalities once they are on roads in significant numbers, among other benefits
May 13, 2015, Google's new self-driving prototype car is introduced at the Google campus in Mountain View, California., photo: AP/Tony Avelar
06 of September 2017 13:05:26
WASHINGTON – The House voted Wednesday to speed the introduction of self-driving cars by giving the federal government authority to exempt automakers from safety standards not applicable to the technology, and to permit deployment of up to 100,000 of the vehicles annually over the next several years.The bill was passed by a voice vote. State and local officials have said it usurps their authority by giving to the federal government sole authority to regulate the vehicles' design and performance. States would still decide whether to permit self-driving cars on their roads.Automakers have complained that a patchwork of laws states have passed in recent years would hamper deployment of the vehicles, which they see as the future of the industry. Self-driving cars are forecast to dramatically lower traffic fatalities once they are on roads in significant numbers, among other benefits. Early estimates indicate there were more than 40,000 traffic fatalities last year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 94 percent of crashes involve human error.Members of the Senate Commerce committee are also working on self-driving car legislation, but a bill hasn't been introduced. If a measure passes the full Senate, the two versions would have to be reconciled before President Donald Trump could sign it into law.
The bill addresses "a variety of barriers that otherwise block the ability to safely test and deploy these vehicle technologies," the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said in a statement.The bill permits the deployment of up to 25,000 self-driving vehicles in its first year, rising to 100,000 vehicles annually in the third year.But consumer and safety groups say they remain concerned the bill will weaken safety standards and undermine public acceptance of the vehicles should a defect lead to crashes and fatalities."Unfortunately, this legislation takes an unnecessary and unacceptable hands-off approach to hands-free driving," leaders of seven groups wrote lawmakers.
Passage of the SELF DRIVE Act brings us one step closer to reshaping American innovation for generations. Proud of this bipartisan work. pic.twitter.com/0smpmOJ2IG— Rep. Debbie Dingell (@RepDebDingell) 6 de septiembre de 2017