Issues

Vehicle Safety

U.S. Senate Committee Approves Federal Advisory Committee Language

On October 4th, 2017, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation adopted an amendment to establish a federal advisory committee comprised of aftermarket representatives and other stakeholders. The amendment, offered by U.S. Senator Inhofe (R-OK), was added to S. 1885, the American Vision for Safer Transportation Through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies (AV START) Act.

Included in the scope of the Committee is a review of data access and cyber security issues. In consultation with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Committee will produce a comprehensive report on vehicle data, intellectual property protections, customer privacy, cybersecurity, vehicle safety, etc., within two years. To see the full text of the amendment, click here.

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NHTSA to Host Tire Safety Twitter Event

In advance of National Tire Safety Week (May 28-June 3), NHTSA is hosting a Twitter chat on May 24 from 3 – 4 p.m. ET to provide information to consumers and vehicle owners on how to be smart when it comes to their tires. Experts will be available to answer questions while you are able to spread the word and encourage your followers to perform proper tire maintenance.

Who: NHTSA’s team of experts

What: #TireWise Twitter Chat

When: Wednesday, May 24, 3 – 4 p.m. ET

Where: www.twitter.com/NHTSAgov

How: Follow the conversation using the hashtag #TireWise.

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Texas Shops Urged to Contact Representatives to Save Safety Inspection Program

Texas Senate Bill (SB) 1588, introduced by State Sen. Donald Huffines, R-16, passed the Texas Senate by a vote of 27-4 on May 4, 2017. If enacted this bill would dismantle Texas’ safety inspection program and institute an “inspection program replacement fee” due at a vehicle’s registration or registration renewal. SB 1588’s House companion bill, HB 3995, was reported favorably by the House Committee on Transportation on May 2, 2017. This bill also calls for the elimination of the safety inspection program.

The time to stop these bills and save Texas’ safety inspection program is growing short. ASA encourages all interested parties in Texas to visit the “Alerts” section of TakingTheHill.com to contact their state legislators in opposition to these bills.

 

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Utah Governor Signs Bill to Dismantle Vehicle Safety Insepections

On March 25, 2017, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed HB 265 into law. This bill states that beginning in 2018, vehicle safety inspections will no longer be necessary to complete yearly registration of noncommercial vehicles. Utah was one of 16 remaining states that required a periodic automotive safety inspection.

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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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