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U.S. DOT Secretary Announces Proposals to Improve Transportation Safety

Yesterday at the Annual Transportation Research Board Meeting, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine Chao announced three proposals aimed at improving safety on our roadways. Chao announced the next phase of the “Partnership for Analytics Research in Traffic Safety (PARTS) program.” The program will “expand participation in the PARTS program to include almost 70% of the U.S. automobile market and will collect data on additional advanced driver-assisted systems (ADAS).” Secretary Chao also announced an initiative to standardize ADAS terminology amongst manufacturers.

To view the DOT press release, click here.

U.S. House Committee Advances Electric Vehicle Bill

The U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy advanced H.R. 5545, the New Opportunities to Expand Healthy Air Using Sustainable Transportation (NO EXHAUST) Act of 2020. The legislation was introduced by Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL) two days ago. The bill would authorize:

  • $2 billion per year from fiscal year 2021 through 2030 for the grants to state and local governments and private entities for electric vehicle deployment;
  • $2.5 billion per year over the same period for large-scale projects to electrify the transportation sector; and
  • $2.5 billion per year over the same period to accelerate the domestic manufacturing of electric vehicles.

This was one of the nine bills that advanced through the subcommittee relating to energy efficiency.

To view the bill, click here.

To view Congressman Rush’s press release, click here.

U.S. DOT Announces New Autonomous Vehicle Guidelines

The White House and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) unveiled ‘Ensuring American Leadership in Automated Vehicle Technologies: Automated Vehicles 4.0’. The guidelines were announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, NV this week.

AV 4.0 is the third set of autonomous vehicle guidance the DOT has released. AV 4.0 has three core areas of focus: prioritizing safety and security, promote innovation, and ensure a consistent regulatory approach. The guidelines build upon the previously released ‘Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicles 3.0’ and ‘Automated Driving Systems: A Vision for Safety 2.0’.

To view the U.S. DOT’s press release, click here.

NHTSA Announces Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in accordance with the Fixing Americas Surface Transportation Act of 2015 (FAST Act) to create procedures to exempt replica vehicles from the federal motor vehicle safety standards which apply to new cars.

To view the NPRM in its entirety, click here.

To leave a comment, click here.

Virginia Representative Introduces Anti-Vehicle Safety Inspection Bill

Virginia State Representative Joseph McNamara (R-08) prefiled House Bill 130, aimed at abolishing Virginia’s motor vehicle safety inspection program. This bill will eliminate a program that is designed to protect the motoring public. Regular safety inspections by a qualified technician identify and repair most safety issues that can arise from normal wear and tear on a vehicle. Without a vehicle safety inspection program in place these normal wear and tear issues will go unnoticed and put the motoring public at risk. Virginia’s state motor vehicle safety inspection program is one of fifteen left in the nation, more often than not the motor vehicle safety inspection program is seen as an unnecessary expense for consumers.

The Automotive Service Association has been a longtime advocate of periodic motor vehicle safety state inspection programs.

U.S. Senate Holds Hearing on Proposals to Protect Consumer Data Privacy

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation convened a hearing entitled, “Examining Legislative Proposals to Protect Consumer Data Privacy.” In his opening statement, Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS) stated that the committee has been working over the past year to “develop a strong, national privacy law that would provide baseline data protections for all Americans.” Chairman Wicker also addressed that throughout the hearing members have received “input of a large number of stakeholders…about how best to protect data from misuse and unwanted collecting and processing.” In Ranking Member Maria Cantwell’s (D-WA) opening statement, she spoke about the bill that she and fellow democratic committee members introduced, the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act of 2019 (COPRA). Ranking Member Cantwell addressed the provisions that are included in COPRA but also the importance of enforcing such legislation.

In their testimonies, witnesses emphasized a federal framework of privacy legislation as technology continues advancing and data collection proliferates. Each witness similarly listed suggestions of what should be included in a federal privacy framework. Considerations made to the committee included that privacy legislation should contain use restrictions, providing consumers transparency by giving clear and simple choices, and selecting a regulator, like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), to issue rules and enforce the law. Witnesses generally agreed that federal legislation is necessary to provide a uniform and consistent framework for, not only, consumers but businesses as well. Former FTC Commissioner, Julie Brill, in her opening statement mentioned countries that are developing or have passed privacy legislation acknowledging that “each of these legal regimes include some common principles for data protection. And, together, they are defining global baselines for privacy protection.”

Witnesses:

  • The Honorable Julie Brill, Former Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission, Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft
  • The Honorable Maureen Ohlhausen, Former Acting-Chair of the Federal Trade Commission, Co-Chair, 21stCentury Privacy Coalition
  • Laura Moy, Executive Director and Associate Professor of Law, Georgetown Law Center on Privacy & Technology
  • Nuala O’Connor, Senior Vice President and Chief Counsel, Digital Citizenship at Walmart
  • Michelle Richardson, Director of Privacy and Data, Center for Democracy and Technology


To watch the hearing in its entirety, click here.

U.S. Senator Introduces Online Data Privacy Legislation

Members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation introduced federal online privacy legislation. Ranking Member U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), along with Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Ed Markey (D-MA) unveiled the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act of 2019 (COPRA) which establishes privacy rights and improves data security safeguards for consumers. According to Senator Cantwell, the legislation will give Americans control over their personal data, prohibits companies from using consumers’ data for harm, establishes standards on the collection, use, sharing and protection of data, penalizes companies that fail to meet these standards, and codifies the rights of individuals to pursue claims against entities that violate their data privacy rights. The bill will also give the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) new enforcement powers to take action against unlawful discrimination based on personal data in the digital economy.

To read a 1-pager on the bill, click here.

To read the press release from Senator Cantwell’s office, click here.

Senators Send Letter to DOJ to Preserve Consent Decree

Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) wrote a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) asking the DOJ to preserve the 1963 Consent Decree in United States v. Association of Casualty and Surety Companies, et al. The decree “ensures that consumers are not coerced or directed to car repair shops that have sweetheart deals with specific insurers.”

To view the letter, click here.

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