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House Approves Dingell-backed Self-driving Vehicle Legislation

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved legislation championed and developed by Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) that supports the safe development and deployment of self-driving vehicles. The SELF DRIVE Act, which was approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee by a 54-0 vote in July, establishes a framework for the regulation of self-driving vehicles that would allow manufacturers to innovate and increase safety on the roads.

“Today, with passage of the SELF DRIVE Act, we are one step closer to reshaping American innovation for generations to come,” said Dingell. “Automated vehicles have the potential to transform mobility in this country – reducing congestion on our roads, providing greater independence to seniors and those with disabilities, and helping to prevent the 35,000 deaths on our roadways each year. This is also fundamentally an issue of American competitiveness. Automated vehicles are going to be developed whether we like it or not. The question is whether the United States will remain in the driver’s seat as opposed to China, Japan, or even the EU who are all making significant investments in this space. The SELF DRIVE Act steers us in the right direction, and I want to thank the bipartisan leadership of the Energy and Commerce Committee for their hard work and support to get this legislation across the finish line.

“This issue is so important for Michigan. Our state is synonymous with the development of the automobile; we transformed transportation and mobility with great inventors like Henry Ford, the Chryslers, Buick, and the Fisher brothers who all had a vision to make people's lives better. This isn't just about moving people from point A to point B, it is about human progress – the freedom of mobility to help make people's lives better and change the way the world moves. Michigan and the U.S. have always been at the forefront of this effort, and the SELF DRIVE Act will help ensure we can continue to innovate and lead for decades to come.”

For video of Dingell’s floor speech, please click here.

In 2015, over 35,000 people died on our roadways and early estimates indicate the number could rise to over 40,000 in 2016. NHTSA estimates that 94 percent of highway crashes are due to human error. The development of automated vehicles has the potential to significantly reduce traffic fatalities in the United States.

The SELF DRIVE Act clarifies the federal and state roles for regulating highly automated vehicles (HAVs) to encourage the testing, development and deployment of HAVs in the United States. It includes language from five bills introduced by Dingell that:

  • Create a Federal Advisory Committee within the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) with subcommittees to examine: mobility access for the disabled community, mobility access for senior citizens and populations underserved by public transportation, and cybersecurity.
  • Establish new exemptions for motor vehicle safety standards to make easier the development or field evaluation of highly automated vehicles.

The legislation includes important safety provisions, including requiring the submission of safety assessment certifications by manufacturers of HAVs and requiring NHTSA to initiate a rulemaking to develop new HAV standards. The legislation also requires manufacturers to develop a written cybersecurity plan that includes vulnerability detection and response practices and a process for controlling access to automated driving systems.

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