Consumer Safety Group Calls for Federal Regulation of Self-Driving Cars

Center for Auto Safety says government rules could determine whether consumers are willing to give self-driving vehicles a shot.

The Center for Auto Safety is calling for government oversight of automated vehicles, warning that another fatality— like one in Florida last year involving a Tesla—could set back public acceptance of self-driving technology by decades.

While no fully autonomous vehicles are currently available to consumers, Tesla and other manufacturers have produced cars with varying levels of self-driving capabilities.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration earlier this year published a voluntary policy on automated driving systems and has since indicated that it will continue on a self-regulatory route for self-driving cars when it updates its policy next year.

The approach allowing the industry to regulate itself could further harm consumer perceptions of automated vehicles, according to the non-profit consumer group.

“There may never be a more critical moment in the development of the self-driving car technology in terms of consumer acceptance,” said Jason Levine, the center’s executive director, in prepared remarks before the NHTSA at the Department of Transportation Monday.

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