Press Release | September 12, 2017

NHTSA Has it Right on Self-Driving Cars, Says CTA

Bronwyn Flores

The following statement is attributed to Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Technology Association (CTA), regarding the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) update to the Federal Automated Vehicles Policy (FAVP): 

“Secretary Chao and the NHTSA team recognize the life-changing benefits self-driving vehicles (SDV) will deliver – thousands of lives saved every year on American roads and undreamed of accessibility for seniors and those who can’t drive for themselves – and that effective federal policy on SDVs must balance safety and innovation. The federal government should lead on issues such as vehicle safety – a critical step to avoid a mess of conflicting state laws that would slow innovation and limit consumer access to the latest SDV technologies.

“NHTSA is encouraging uniformity – the new state legislative recommendations specify a ‘technology-neutral’ environment, proof that NHTSA wants SDVs treated like regular vehicles by states. SDV technology may be different, but the scope of state regulation is not – NHTSA is clear that states should not create new requirements for SDVs. Also, the new federal guidance on safety assessment letters (SAL) is more detailed, but NHTSA stresses the SAL process is voluntary and directly suggests states not codify it. Companies can explain what they’re doing to keep passengers safe and how closely they’re working with federal safety officials, but – and this is critical – the process doesn’t force them to share unwillingly any proprietary IP with their competitors. The revised NHTSA plan allows for open, public communication and the protection of private, hard-earned IP innovations.

“American drivers want self-driving vehicles! They want to pay less for car insurance, quit wasting hours in traffic and eliminate drunk driving crashes. With smart policies like NHTSA’s latest guidance and American innovation, the U.S. will indeed lead the world in SDV technology and revolutionize how we travel on our roads.”

Most U.S. consumers are excited about the benefits of SDVs, and almost two-thirds want to swap their current cars for completely self-driving vehicles, according to CTA’s Self-Driving Vehicles: Consumer Sentiments.

CES 2017 was the world’s showcase for the latest in automotive technology, with a Self-Driving Technology Marketplace and more than 300 auto tech companies including BMW, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen. CES 2018 will also have a similarly large self-driving vehicle presence.