September 7, 2018—Various automakers, suppliers, tech companies, and advocates for safer roads are urging the U.S. Senate to take action on an historic opportunity to advance greater road safety, innovation, expand mobility, and boost American competitiveness by passing the AV START Act (S. 1885).
One year ago today, a similar bill—the SELF DRIVE Act (H.R. 3388)—passed the House of Representatives with unanimous support. Like the House bill, the AV START Act establishes a framework for the safe testing, development, and deployment of automated vehicle technology while also supporting research and investment in the United States.
The AV START Act will also help strengthen existing safety oversight by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and would protect against an unworkable patchwork of state and federal laws and regulations that could stifle innovation, job growth, and the development of safety technologies.
While there are a number of compelling reasons to pass the AV START Act, the most important factor is the potential for lives to be saved. Government data shows that human choice or error is a factor in approximately 94 percent of all crashes on U.S. roads—crashes that took the lives of an estimated 40,000 men, women, and children in 2017.
The development and eventual deployment of automated vehicle technologies also has the potential to significantly reduce the number of crashes and at the same time expand mobility options for persons with disabilities, seniors, and those who require access to more affordable transportation.
Further, the decrease in crashes will mean fewer roadway backups, decreasing both congestion and carbon emissions from automobiles.