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Automated Vehicles Bill Speeds Through House Committee

Date: July 27, 2017

MEMA applauds the House Energy and Commerce Committee on its unanimous vote (54-0) to pass automated vehicle legislation. The package clearly delineates the federal and state roles on rules and allows vehicle manufacturers and suppliers to test and deploy automated vehicles on public roads. The bill creates a framework and establishes timelines for agencies to establish future regulations.

Committee Chairman Bob Latta (R-Ohio), who addressed MEMA at our 2017 Legislative Summit, has been a leader in championing this bill and leading the bipartisan effort. Other key sponsors are Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.).

“Self-driving cars have the potential to reduce traffic accidents and deaths, increase mobility, and improve quality-of-life,” said Latta. “The legislation passed by committee was the result of a bipartisan effort, which involved over 250 meetings with interested stakeholders in 2017 alone. Congress can’t get caught flat-footed on this new technology, and this bill ensures that a definitive framework is in place as industry develops, tests, and deploys autonomous vehicles.” 

The bill calls on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to do rulemakings and set a priority safety plan and requires industry to submit Safety Assessment Certifications and to address cybersecurity and consumer privacy issues during development. Also, the measure would place a federal cap on the number of exemptions granted to manufacturers who want to design and test automated cars without traditional automobile features, from 2,500 a year to 100,000.

Next stop for the bill is the House floor.

Meanwhile, the Senate Energy and Commerce Committee have been concurrently working on its draft legislation. It is expected to be released soon.

MEMA continues to advocate for suppliers’ interests in these pieces of legislation. For more information, please contact Tom Lehner and Leigh Merino.

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