The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued on Wednesday, May 22, advance notices of proposed rulemaking on the removal of “unnecessary regulatory barriers” to the introduction of automated vehicles in the United States.
Both agencies are seeking comments.
“One of the department’s priorities is to prepare for the future by engaging with new technology while addressing legitimate public concerns about safety, security, and privacy without hampering innovations,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a news release.
FMCSA seeks public comment regarding how changes to its rules can account for significant differences between human operators and automated driving systems.
“We know that while many of these technologies are still in development. It is critical that we carefully examine how to make federal rules keep up with this advancing technology,” FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez said.
NHTSA seeks comment on identifying and addressing regulatory barriers to the deployment of automated vehicles posed by existing Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
“Our mission is to protect Americans on our roads,” NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King said. “As automated driving systems develop, NHTSA will continue to adapt to make sure the agency is equipped to ensure public safety while encouraging innovation.”
Jay Grimes, director of federal affairs for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, said the technology and the necessary infrastructure to achieve a level of safety on par with having an experienced professional driver in control of a commercial vehicle is still a long ways away.
“The assumption that a commercial motor vehicle driver will be anything other than a human is rather premature,” Grimes said. “In response to the advance notice of proposed rulemaking, OOIDA will be providing feedback on the agency’s questions regarding requirements of human drivers, hours of service, and CDL endorsements, as well as many other safety issues presented by the development of automated vehicles.”
Both notices will have a 60-day comment period, which will begin once the notices are published in the Federal Register. Comments may be made by going to Regulations.gov and entering docket number FMCSA-2018-0037.
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