Following Voluntary Autonomous Guidelines a ‘Fool’s Errand’


The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

By David A. Wood
— The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) says new rules for driverless car technology must be mandatory because following voluntary guidelines is a fool’s errand and won’t protect the public.
Voluntary guidelines are great for automakers, but to decrease the nearly 40,000 crash fatalities a year takes more than allowing companies to self-regulate.
According to the Center, autonomous vehicle technology will play a large role in safer transportation, but allowing self-driving cars on public roads without mandated laws ignores the history of car companies. CAS says automakers have track records of making unsupported advertising claims that don’t match up with reality.
Be it Volkswagen and its emissions systems, Takata and its airbags or General Motors and its deadly ignition switches, automakers have never been known for following even well-established standards. By allowing companies to self-regulate, the Center says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has ignored its duty to protect consumers.
According to CAS, now is the time for federal leadership concerning driverless car technology, before the “public decides this is just more misleading advertising by the car industry.”
Congress and safety regulators shouldn’t undermine consumer protections simply because they want the U.S. to be considered the leader in autonomous technology, a fear that is driving regulators and legislators away from common sense safety laws.
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