House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Autonomous Vehicles

Committee Staff Releases DRAFT AV Bill

The U.S. House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce held a hearing entitled, “Autonomous Vehicles: Promises and Challenges of Evolving Automotive Technologies.” In opening statements, Members of the Committee expressed similar sentiments regarding their support and the need for autonomous vehicle legislation touting that it will ensure American leadership in innovation, the need for a framework to deploy emerging vehicle technology in a safe and responsible way to improve roadway conditions and reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities. Subcommittee Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA) stated that this legislation “will be transformative and knock down mobility barriers.” Among the groups testifying in front of the subcommittee today was the National Federation of the Blind, reiterating that a future with autonomous vehicles will increase opportunities to find work and travel for those with disabilities.

Last year the same committee passed the SELF DRIVE Act of 2019, which passed out of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce unanimously. The legislation died in the Senate after the American Association of Justice (AAJ) voiced concerns over forced arbitration. In his opening statement, Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) targeted AAJ inferring that this legislation will require a comprise. Despite AAJ’s confliction with the bill, all witnesses stated that they believed that autonomous vehicles hold the promise to save lives. Witnesses Gary Shapiro, President and CEO at Consumer Technology Association, and Jeff Tumlin, Director of Transportation at San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, further emphasized the  urgency to pass this legislation; both Shapiro and Tumlin testified that “we lack a national goal” when it comes to autonomous vehicles and that “with the global race to autonomous vehicles, we have the technology and the fundamental infrastructure here” but without guidance from Congress, we are allowing other nations to become the leaders.

Witnesses:

  • Cathy Chase
    President
    Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
  • John Bozzella
    President and CEO
    Alliance for Automotive Innovation

 

  • Daniel Hinkle
    State Affairs Counsel
    American Association of Justice

 

  • Mark Riccobono
    President
    National Federation of the Blind

 

  • Gary Shapiro
    President and CEO
    Consumer Technology Association

 

  • Jeff Tumlin
    Director of Transportation
    San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA)

To view the hearing in its entirety, click here.

Written by Alexandra Moyer

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