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Are There Unnecessary Safety Requirements For Self-Driving Cars?

Have we become too reliant on technology? Do we trust the next big thing too quickly? Maybe, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But maybe not.

In a recent report, the NHTSA commented that they are making the effort to identify and remove any “unnecessary regulatory barriers” to self-driving cars. They will be carefully examining barriers that exist in relation to self-driving vehicles that are not equipped with controls for a human driver. This period of research, evaluation and regulatory revision could take years.

From the Reuters piece: “Automakers must meet nearly 75 auto safety standards, many of which were written with the assumption that a licensed driver will be in control of the vehicle.” The NHTSA has noted in the past that the current regulations pose “significant” hurdles to vehicles without human controls.

Agency battles continue to rage on centered around the topic. A Senate committee unanimously gave the green light to a bill aimed at speeding the use of self-driving cars without human controls. The bill would allow the NHTSA to waive certain safety requirements in light of the technology. General Motors and Ford had lobbied for the legislation while auto safety groups urged more safeguards.

No matter the timeline and the number of regulatory changes, vehicle technology continues to improve. More and more vehicle manufacturers include computer-assisted safety features while moving toward driverless cars. An eye on safety could mean a reduction in serious vehicle accidents in the foreseeable future.

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