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MEMA Weighs in on NHTSA ‘Self-Driving’ Car Ruling

Date: February 12, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) has released a legal interpretation of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) decision that the car itself (the self-driving system) that pilots a Google car could be considered the “driver” under federal law.

“We have been following the development of semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles closely on behalf of our supplier members, both the technology itself and the evolving regulations. We are actively engaged with NHTSA on this and other topics,” said Bill Long, president of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA), MEMA’s light vehicle aftermarket division who serves as executive liaison for MEMA’s government relations initiatives. “We had noted Google’s petition for a NHTSA ruling last November. When the NHTSA response was made public this week, we immediately requested an analysis by Arent Fox, our legal counsel, so our supplier members can stay on top of these developments.”

The legal analysis prepared for MEMA suggests that NHTSA may be moving toward recognizing self-driving systems as the vehicle’s driver for purposes of compliance with current safety regulations.

“Clearly, the evolution to self-driving systems has huge potential impact to the automotive industry as we know it. At this point, the technology is almost in place, so it could be that regulations determine how fast autonomous vehicles become widespread,” Long said. “MEMA is very engaged in these regulatory developments so that suppliers are informed in real time on important matters.”

The Arent Fox analysis for MEMA can be viewed here

About MEMA

The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) represents vehicle suppliers that manufacture and remanufacture components and systems for use in passenger cars and heavy trucks providing original equipment (OE) to new vehicles as well as aftermarket parts to service, maintain and repair over 256 million vehicles on the road today.  Suppliers are the largest employers of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. directly employing over 734,000 Americans with a total employment impact of 3.6 million jobs. Our members lead the way in developing advanced, transformative technologies that enable safer, smarter and more efficient vehicles, all within a rapidly growing global marketplace with increased regulatory and customer demands. Ultimately, about two‐thirds of the value of today’s vehicles come from suppliers. MEMA represents vehicle suppliers through the following four divisions: Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA), Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association (HDMA), Motor & Equipment Remanufacturers Association (MERA) and Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA).  For more information on the motor vehicle component supplier industry, visit

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