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Congress pushing self-drivers

by David Zatz on

Yesterday,  a Congressional panel approved a new law that would override states’ rights to set limits on autonomous cars — and exempts them from some safety rules.

To qualify for exemptions from safety standards, the cars would need to function properly and have “fail safe features.”  Automakers must file safety assessment reports, but the government can’t act based on the reports. States can still apply their usual rules on registration, licensing, insurance, and safety inspections.

Some vehicle safety rules assume a driver will be in charge.

Despite increasing safety technology in newer cars, road deaths have been rising over the last two years. Some analysts have suggested that the rise of distractions from cellphones and a move to ever-larger vehicles has been overpowering increasing availability of backup cameras and such; a theory that drivers are less careful, on the assumption that “the car will save them,” has gotten mixed support but doesn’t seem likely to be the main issue.

The law will go to the full House of Representatives later this year. The panel voted unanimously for the law. Source: Bloomberg

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