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AV conversation should not exclude safety inspections

Friday, September 27, 2019 - 06:00
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During the discussions of autonomous vehicle (AV) legislation in the last Congress, several members of Congress raised concerns about who would be responsible for assuring that these vehicles would be maintained and safe for America’s roads. Currently, only 15 states have vehicle safety inspection programs. With the 115th Congress’ failure to move AV legislation, the issue has arisen again.

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U.S. House and Senate policymakers asked that organizations interested in new vehicle technologies submit comments about what AV legislation should include. Several groups, in letters to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee highlighted the importance of vehicle safety including a major vehicle technology company noting that “Safety is our first priority…” The Automotive Service Association emphasized the importance of vehicle safety inspection in a letter to the committees:

“As vehicles become increasingly sophisticated and the owner less attached and knowledgeable about their vehicle, ASA believes that vehicle safety inspection and maintenance will be less of a priority. Autonomous vehicles (AV) raise numerous issues related to vehicle safety including the day-to-day responsibility for monitoring important safety items on the vehicle, i.e. tires, lights, brakes, condition of the windshield, etc. States that allow AVs on their roads should also be required to have a state periodic motor vehicle safety inspection program in place.”

In a recent study, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) noted three important trends for the automotive industry:

  • Technological
  • Social
  • Regulatory

Technological includes autonomous driving, electrification, connectivity. Social includes urbanization, new way of working and sharing. Finally, the regulatory trend would involve city regulation and emissions standards. These trends should impact how federal, state and local policymakers view vehicle safety.

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