Congress Continues to Work on Bipartisan AV Bill to Encourage Development

Date: November 5, 2019

House and Senate members over this past year have worked to put together a piece of bipartisan legislation that will construct a new regulatory framework that will promote the development of automated vehicle (AV) technology. The new technology, though still in the infant stages of deployment, promises to reduce the number of deaths and injuries on the road.

In August, the House Energy & Commerce Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee asked stakeholders to give input as to what such a bill needs to cover. Over 100 organizations sent letters to the committees with proposals. Both committees are still working together to craft a bill. On Oct. 28, committee staff from both sides of Congress circulated three sections of the drafted bill that covered “federal advisory committees, AV testing expansions, and exemptions to allow for vehicles with novel designs,” according to Forbes, three sections where legislators have been able to find elements to agree on.

It isn’t the first-time legislators attempted to create legislation to benefit AV development. The previous Congress attempted to put together two bipartisan bills: SELF DRIVE (H.R. 3388) and the AV START (S.1886), but both bills failed to pass.

“The expectation was that the Senate would bring AV START to the floor, which would then allow the House and Senate to reconcile the differences between their two bills and pass it before the end of December 2018. Unfortunately, AV START became embroiled in proxy battles and misconceptions that prevented it from reaching the Senate floor – leading to the failure of both bills to be enacted before the end of the 115th Congress.”

Despite the failure to pass either bill between both chambers, in 2017 the SELF DRIVE Act was able to pass on the House floor and the AV START Act was able to pass through Committee. Both had unanimous support.

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