Federal Regulation for Self-Driving Vehicles

iStock_000004821956MediumThe Department of Transportation (DOT) aims to keep pace with emerging transportation technology. In particular, they are focusing on self-driving vehicles. They do not intend to sit back and wait to make reactive policies.

The Secretary of Transportation released a plan detailing 15 points for automakers to follow. The main goal of this plan is to ensure driver safety while embracing modern technological advancement.  Here are a few of the most salient points:

  • Manufacturers of autonomous vehicles must document how and where the vehicles will operate. They will provide this documentation to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
  • Manufacturers must document how these vehicles will interact with other vehicles on the roadways.
  • Manufacturers of autonomous vehicles must document how they validate their testing procedures.
  • Manufacturers must share how they will protect drivers’ privacy. This includes hacking-prevention measures.
  • Manufacturers must document how they would disseminate the information collected by onboard computers.

This is a departure from the norm for driver regulation. In the past, individual states regulated drivers. This included issuing licenses, vehicle registration requirements, and so on. Part of this change is due to the nature of autonomous vehicles. Some self-driving cars lack a steering wheel and pedals. In these instances, there is no human driver for the state to regulate. In vehicles where a human is driving, state laws still apply.

This technology is making headway in the trucking industry as well. The first self-driving semi-truck hit the road in 2015, and safety features like lane departure technology are nothing new. These new federal regulations include rules for vehicles with advanced driver-assistance systems such as Tesla models. This has implications for commercial fleets that include technologically advanced vehicles. Contact Three Points Insurance to learn how to remain compliant with federal regulations as technology advances.