Self-driving vehicles allowed to skip some crash safety standards under new rule

Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, said in a statement that the long-term safety of the rule hasn’t yet been determined, but said that the agency has not focused on Congressional safety mandates over the last four years.

“NHTSA’s insistence of enabling the fast deployment of self-driving vehicles by amending rules written for cars with drivers, instead of recognizing the unique characteristics of autonomous technology, may be the fastest way to authorize the deployment of autonomous vehicles but it is not a consumer safety driven approach,” he said.

by Riley Beggin
January 14, 2021

The Trump Administration issued final rules Thursday that will allow self-driving vehicle manufacturers to skip federal crash safety requirements in vehicles that aren’t designed to carry people.

It marks the first major update to existing federal safety standards to accommodate innovations in driverless technology. While no fully autonomous vehicles are for sale for consumers now, industry experts expect that market share for self-driving cars and trucks will expand in the coming decade.

A self-driving Nuro vehicle in front of a CVS Pharmacy
The rule — months in the making — also allows manufacturers more leeway to design self-driving vehicles without controls meant for human drivers, such as steering wheels or pedals.

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