Recently the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee again rejected attempts to change mandatory regulations to allow car manufacturers to develop self-driving cars
In mid-June 2021, the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee again rejected attempts to amend mandatory regulations to allow car manufacturers to develop self-driving cars. The committee rejected Republican Senator John Thune’s proposal to attach autonomous vehicle regulations to a $ 78 billion surface transportation law. Thune has proposed to grant the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the power to authorize exemptions for tens of thousands of self-driving vehicles from safety standards designed with human drivers in mind. The surface law was then approved by the committee with a vote of 25-3. Thune and other lawmakers have been trying to get their proposal approved for nearly five years. The senator has always argued that autonomous vehicles could help eliminate numerous deaths from distracted or impaired drivers.
Does America not trust the driverless car?
Trade Commission Chair Maria Cantwell, a Democrat, cited Tesla’s recent accidents and other incidents involving driver assistance systems. “It seems like every two weeks we hear about a new vehicle crashing while Autopilot was running,” Cantwell said. “I think this is legislation that we can complete by the end of this year … These latter issues are very thorny as far as the legal framework is concerned.” Thune’s opinion is the opposite: “The Democrats have succumbed to the pressure of special interests against the best interests of our economy and the American people. Are we really going to continue to ignore the enormous safety benefits of these vehicles?”. The American Association for Justice, which represents the plaintiffs’ attorneys, said it “will continue to oppose any legislation that exempts the driverless car industry from basic safety standards, and allows auto and tech companies to avoid be held accountable through the use of forced arbitration clauses “.
Houses are willing to work with lawmakers
The Self-Driving Coalition, representing Ford, Waymo of Alphabet, Volvo and others said, “The exclusion of AV legislation from current surface transportation reauthorizations reflects another missed opportunity to save lives,” but promised that will work with lawmakers. Last month, Greg Regan, chair of the AFL-CIO Department of Transportation, told US lawmakers that autonomous vehicles put “millions of jobs at risk” and any self-driving legislation should not apply to commercial trucks. But the companies are still moving forward. Reuters reported last May that Waymo and rival Cruise have applied for permits to begin charging for rides and deliveries with autonomous vehicles in San Francisco.
June 21 – 12:48
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