Five groups concerned about federal bill regulating autonomous vehicles

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Five groups, including the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), have expressed concern over the SELF DRIVE Act of 2017 that was recently advanced by the U.S. House of Representatives.

The bill allows the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to create federal safety standards to the technology. The bill also clarifies state and federal governments’ role in regulating autonomous vehicles.

The other groups expressing concern are American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, the Governors Highway Safety Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Governors Association.

The groups say the bill represents federal overreach and the final version of the bill should include requirements for state representation on a federal advisory council for self-driving cars.

The groups expressed their concern in a letter Sept. 5.

“The bill currently being considered by the House seeks to significantly expand federal pre-emption of states by moving beyond the traditional definition of motor vehicle safety to encroach on vehicle operations, currently under the states’ purview,” the letter said. “By expanding federal pre-emption to incorporate the performance of automated driving systems, on the one hand, Congress would be sending a clear signal that the federal government will take on the role of being the sole regulator of vehicle operations.”