Trump administration re-evaluating
self-driving car guidance
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[February 27, 2017]
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Transportation
Secretary Elaine Chao said on Sunday she was reviewing self-driving
vehicle guidance issued by the Obama administration and urged companies
to explain the benefits of automated vehicles to a skeptical public.
The guidelines, which were issued in September, call on automakers to
voluntarily submit details of self-driving vehicle systems to regulators
in a 15-point “safety assessment” and urge states to defer to the
federal government on most vehicle regulations.
Automakers have raised numerous concerns about the guidance, including
that it requires them to turn over significant data, could delay testing
by months and lead to states making the voluntary guidelines mandatory.
In November, major automakers urged the then-incoming Trump
administration to re-evaluate the guidelines and some have called for
significant changes. Automakers called on Congress earlier this month to
make legislative changes to speed self-driving cars to U.S. roads.
Chao, in her first major public remarks since taking office last month,
told the National Governors Association: "This administration is
evaluating this guidance and will consult with you and other
stakeholders as we update it and amend it, to ensure that it strikes the
She said self-driving cars could dramatically improve safety.
In 2015, 35,092 people died in U.S. traffic crashes, up 7 percent and
the highest full-year increase since 1966. In the first nine months of
2016, fatalities were up 8 percent.
Chao, noting research that 94 percent of traffic crashes were due to
human error, said: "There’s a lot at stake in getting this technology
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The computer screen in an autonomous prototype Continental Chrysler
300C sedan is seen during an event featuring numerous self-driving
cars on Capitol Hill in Washington, in this file photo taken March
15, 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron/Files
She said the Trump administration wanted to ensure it "is a catalyst
for safe, efficient technologies, not an impediment. In particular,
I want to challenge Silicon Valley, Detroit, and all other auto
industry hubs to step up and help educate a skeptical public about
the benefits of automated technology."
Companies including Alphabet Inc's self-driving car Waymo unit,
General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co, Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL],
Tesla Inc and other are aggressively pursuing automated vehicle
Chao said she was "very concerned" about the potential impact of
automated vehicles on employment. There are 3.5 million U.S. truck
drivers alone and millions of others employed in driving-related
She also said she would seek input from states as regulators
develops rules on drones. "We will ask for your input as the
(Federal Aviation Administration) develops standards and regulations
to ensure that drones can be safely integrated into our country’s
airspace," she said.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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