AUTOMATED VEHICLES: U.S. DOT reevaluating self-driving vehicle guidance

Secretary Chao is responding to automaker concerns regarding the guidance introduced by the Obama administration

February 28, 2017
United States of America Department of Transportation logo
United States of America Department of Transportation logo

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said on Sunday she was reviewing self-driving vehicle guidance issued by the Obama administration and urged companies to explain the benefits of automated vehicles to a skeptical public.

The guidelines, which were issued in September, call on automakers to voluntarily submit details of self-driving vehicle systems to regulators in a 15-point “safety assessment” and urge states to defer to the federal government on most vehicle regulations.

Automakers have raised numerous concerns about the guidance, including that it requires them to turn over significant data, could delay testing by months and lead to states making the voluntary guidelines mandatory.

In November, major automakers urged the then-incoming Trump administration to re-evaluate the guidelines and some have called for significant changes. Automakers called on Congress earlier this month to make legislative changes to speed self-driving cars to U.S. roads.

Chao, in her first major public remarks since taking office last month, told the National Governors Association: "This administration is evaluating this guidance and will consult with you and other stakeholders as we update it and amend it, to ensure that it strikes the right balance."

She said self-driving cars could dramatically improve safety, noting that 94% of traffic crashes were due to human error.

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