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United States Senate WASHINGTON, DC 20510 March 18, 2015 Mark Rosekind, Ph.D. ‘Administrator ‘National Highway Traffic Safety Administration USS. Department of Transportation 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE Washington, DC 20590 Dear Administrator Rosekind: As members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, we are excited about recent advancements in automated and autonomous vehicle technologies with innovative safety features, These technologies promise to significantly reduce roadway accidents, shorten commutes, and increase productivity for the American people in the coming years. We look forward to working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to accelerate the safety benefits of this technology and encourage states as they consider its potential ‘As you know, state governments have been moving to enable the testing and operation of autonomous vehicles. Additionally, Secretary Foxx has indicated that the Department of Transportation is closely evaluating the safety potential of automated technologies, stating that they could ultimately eliminate nine ‘out of every ten motor vehicle accidents. In light of the significant interest expressed by many states in making this technology available, itis our hope that NHTSA will revisit its May 2013 Preliminary Statement of Policy Concerning Automated Vehicles, which concluded that NHTSA “does not recommend that states authorize the operation of self-driving vehicles for purposes other than testing, at this time.” The May 2013 policy also recommended special state licensing requirements for drivers, which would negate the use of autonomous vehicles by certain populations that would benefit the most, including the elderly, and people with limited or no vision or mobility. Nearly two years after the May 2013 policy statement, we have seen the capabilities of these vehicles advance. Another important issue worth examining is NHTSA’s regulatory flexibility to interpret existing Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) as applied to autonomous vehicle technologies. We hope NHTSA will do more to avoid delayed deployments based on new rulemakings or amended FMVSS requirements. As you know, some have expressed concerns that existing FMVSS crash avoidance and post-crash rules are designed to address problems that may well be minimized, or become nonexistent, in {an automated world, NHTSA should provide guidance on best practices for submitting requests for interpretation. In order to ensure that Congress effectively partners with your agency, we respectfully request answers to the following questions: 1. What steps is NHTSA taking towards finalizing a policy on automated vehicles that embraces innovation and improved safety benefits? 2. How is NHTSA providing guidance to states on the safe exploration of this new technology? 3. What guidance is NHTSA providing industry on the submission of requests for interpretation regarding the application of FMVSS to autonomous vehicle technologies? What barriers exist to the research and integration of autonomous vehicles that Congress could address? ‘Thank you for your attention to this important topic. We look forward to working together to improve ‘motor Vehicle Safety and lay the foundation for autonomous vehicle technology. Sincerely, Deb Fischer inited States Senator United States Senator