Issues

Vehicle Safety

FCC and FTC Commissioners Outline Agency Agendas in New Administration

On Feb. 1, Center for Technology Innovation fellow Nicol Turner-Lee moderated a panel discussion at Brookings with FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny that focused on what they would like to see as the primary agendas for these agencies going forward. The commissioners expressed their views of how their agencies will proceed with pending decisions on net neutrality, consumer privacy, and expanding broadband internet access, along with potential challenges to each agency’s authority. See more here.

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Administration’s Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity Releases Final Report

In February 2016, President Obama established the Commission with Executive Order 13718. The Commission completed its report on Dec. 1, 2016, providing detailed short-term and long-term recommendations to strengthen cybersecurity in both the public and private sectors, while protecting privacy, fostering innovation and ensuring economic and national security. To develop their recommendations, the commissioners consulted technical and policy experts, solicited input from the public through open hearings and a request for information, and reviewed existing literature.

The report emphasizes the need for partnerships between the public and private sectors, as well as international engagement. It also discusses the role consumers must play in enhancing our digital security. The report categorizes its recommendations within six overarching imperatives focused on infrastructure, investment, consumer education, workforce capabilities, government operations and requirements for a fair and open global digital economy.

The Commission praised the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for its efforts to work with industry to develop voluntary and collaborative guidelines to secure IoT devices. For example, automotive manufacturers have called for a consistent set of federal guidelines for autonomous vehicles, and they have worked with the NHTSA on such rules.

To see the full text of the commission’s report, click here.

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U.S. DOT and NHTSA Issue Cybersecurity Best Practices Guidelines to the Automotive Industry

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is taking a proactive safety approach to protect vehicles from malicious cyber-attacks and unauthorized access by releasing proposed guidance for improving motor vehicle cybersecurity.

“Cybersecurity is a safety issue, and a top priority at the Department,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Our intention with today’s guidance is to provide best practices to help protect against breaches and other security failures that can put motor vehicle safety.”

The proposed cybersecurity guidance focuses on layered solutions to ensure vehicle systems are designed to take appropriate and safe actions, even when an attack is successful. The guidance recommends risk-based prioritized identification and protection of critical vehicle controls and consumers’ personal data. Further, it recommends that companies should consider the full life-cycle of their vehicles and facilitate rapid response and recovery from cybersecurity incidents.

See NHTSA’s full release here.

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U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Asks NHTSA to Address OBD-II Port Security Risks

On September 12th, 2016, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), along with subcommittee chairmen Greg Walden (R-OR), Tim Murphy (R-PA), and Michael Burgess (R-TX), submitted a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), requesting the formation of a stakeholder group to develop a strategy to address the potential security risks posed by automotive On-Board diagnostics ports (OBD-II). OBD-II ports were first mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1994 as a means to test vehicle emissions under the Clean Air Act. Since then, the use of OBD-II ports has expanded to include repair diagnostics for both technicians and consumers.

To see the full text of the letter, click here.

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NHTSA Publishes Proposed Rule on Recall Notification, Requesting Public Comment

On September 1st, 2016 the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), released a proposed rule that would require manufacturers to notify consumers of outstanding recalls by electronic means in addition to first-class mail.

The proposal would also allow NHTSA to require manufacturers to send additional notifications if the agency determines that an inadequate number of vehicles have been returned for remedy. To see the full text of the proposed rule, please click here.

 

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Privacy and Consumer Advocacy Groups Urge Oversight of Dedicated Short Range Communications Systems

In 2015, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx announced a series of initiatives to speed the development of advanced technologies that could enhance highway safety. Among those initiatives was an effort to prepare to test the safety impact of wireless devices designed to share the section of the radio spectrum reserved for vehicle safety applications such as vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications (the Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC, 5850–5925 MHz)) spectrum band.

DSRC is a two-way short- to- medium-range wireless communications capability that permits very high data transmission critical in communications-based active safety applications. In Report and Order FCC-03-324, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allocated 75 MHz of spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band for use by Intelligent Transportations Systems (ITS) vehicle safety and mobility applications.

As DSRC systems become more prevalent in today’s vehicles, privacy and consumer groups have raised concerns about potential vulnerabilities, arguing that these communications may allow access to private information or increase the likelihood of cyber attacks. These groups are also concerned about the automakers’ intent to use the DSRC for commercial applications. On August 24, 2016, 18 consumer groups submitted a letter to the FCC  urging the commission to prevent the auto industry from using spectrum set aside for vehicle-to-vehicle communications for commercial applications. See the full text of the letter here.

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U.S. Senators Call on Honda to Immediately Issue “Do Not Drive” Order for Certain Takata Air Bags

After new data revealed that Takata air bags in certain Honda and Acura vehicles have a 50 percent chance of rupture in a crash, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) are calling on Honda to immediately issue a “do not drive” order to owners vehicles with these dangerous air bags. In a letter to Honda, the Senators urged Honda to take the strongest possible action to ensure that vehicles with such air bags are immediately removed from the road before more people are killed. They also called on the company to take additional measures to make it as easy as possible for owners of these vehicles to have this dangerous defect repaired, without having to drive the vehicle to a dealership. To see the full text of the letter, click here.

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NHTSA Data Shows Traffic Deaths up 7.7 Percent in 2015

WASHINGTON – Preliminary data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show a 7.7 percent increase in motor vehicle traffic deaths in 2015. An estimated 35,200 people died in 2015, up from the 32,675 reported fatalities in 2014.

“Every American should be able to drive, ride or walk to their destination safely, every time,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We are analyzing the data to determine what factors contributed to the increase in fatalities and at the same time, we are aggressively testing new safety technologies, new ways to improve driver behavior, and new ways to analyze the data we have, as we work with the entire road safety community to take this challenge head-on.” Read more here.

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NHTSA: New Test Data on Subset of Takata Air Bag Inflators Shows Substantially Higher Risk

WASHINGTON – New test data on a particular subset of defective Takata air bag inflators in certain model-year 2001-2003 Honda and Acura vehicles show a far higher risk of ruptures during air bag deployment, prompting an urgent call from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to ensure that unrepaired vehicles in this population are found and fixed before they cause further injuries or fatalities.

“With as high as a 50 percent chance of a dangerous air bag inflator rupture in a crash, these vehicles are unsafe and need to be repaired immediately,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Folks should not drive these vehicles unless they are going straight to a dealer to have them repaired immediately, free of charge.”

See the full release here.

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Florida Repairers Call for Automotive Safety Inspections

Currently in Florida, law enforcement is permitted to stop and cite drivers for bald tires, worn brakes or similar equipment issues. But there’s no formal way to get these vehicles off the road and get them fixed up because Florida doesn’t have annual vehicle inspections. Read more here.

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