Center for Auto Safety Submits Comments to NHTSA on Autonomous Vehicle Testing Pilot Program 

December 11, 2018
Contact: Grace Garver,, (202) 328-7700

Center for Auto Safety Submits Comments to NHTSA
on Autonomous Vehicle Testing Pilot Program 

Yesterday, the Center for Auto Safety (“the Center”) submitted comments to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (“NHTSA”) Pilot Program for Collaborative Research on Motor Vehicles with High or Full Driving Automation (“AV Pilot Program”).  The Center, founded in 1970, is a member supported, independent, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy.

The Center’s comments advocate for the idea that the AV Pilot Program should be undertaken only with a comprehensive approach to setting safety standards, evaluating AV conformance to those safety standards, and licensing AV operators by examining their ability to operate AV safely, competently, and in conformity with motor vehicle laws. Further, the Center proposes a Gated Certification process which is intended to have manufacturers demonstrate safety in closed environments prior to public deployment.

“Oversight has gone hand in hand with auto safety as long as there have been automobiles, because when left to their own devices, safety has always come after sales in this industry. Sadly, the modern technology industry does not have a better track record—and if anything—prefers to move fast and break things, which is not a useful ethos when talking about a several-ton vehicle under computer control,” said Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety. “If the AV Pilot Program fails to satisfy public demands for transparency, performance, and above all else safety, it will undermine AV development progress and unnecessarily delay any benefits that would otherwise be derived from its success. The small cost of developing and monitoring compliance with AV safety standards would be overwhelmed by the opportunity costs of a failed AV Pilot Program.”

“All parties want to see reduced crashes, deaths, and injuries attendant to the promise of AV operation. By seizing the opportunity presented by the AV Pilot Program to promote standards and protocols for AV safety and operator licensing, perhaps NHTSA will take real steps towards making the promise of AVs benefits a reality,” Levine said.

The Center’s comment can be found here


Over the last 48 years, the Center for Auto Safety has successfully led the fight for lemon laws in every state, airbags in every vehicle, and recall repairs being made at no cost to the consumer. The Center is a membership-driven organization headquartered in Washington, DC and is also home to the Safe Climate Campaign, which fights global warming by working for big, specific measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Center is also the publisher of, which has for the last 38 years been America’s most comprehensive car buying guide. To learn more about the Center, please visit