IIHS and senators urge NHTSA to take action on automated driver assists

  • June 17, 2024
  • 2 min read
IIHS and senators urge NHTSA to take action on automated driver assists

The recent article on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) website has stirred up controversy and called for action from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In the article, IIHS Senior Research Scientist David Kidd criticized NHTSA’s lack of regulation on the safe use of semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles.

Kidd’s concerns were echoed by six U.S. senators who sent a letter to NHTSA expressing grave concerns about the agency’s inaction on regulating automated driver assistance technologies. They highlighted the risks of misusing automation and the lack of data on crashes involving automation technologies.

One of the main issues raised by Kidd and the senators is the lack of requirements for automakers and companies to provide data on crashes involving automation technologies. This makes it difficult to evaluate the safety of these vehicles. Additionally, advanced autonomous vehicles are allowed to operate on the roads without additional safety or performance standards, leading to confusion among everyday drivers who may incorrectly assume their vehicles are self-driving.

Kidd also pointed out the misleading marketing tactics used by automakers, which contribute to the misunderstanding of the capabilities of these vehicles. He highlighted the lack of transparency in automated test fleets, such as those operated by Cruise and Waymo, which are not required to provide data on crashes and safety. Kidd specifically called out Cruise for withholding data from NHTSA and California officials and for deploying vehicles that often fail to detect children.

While the IIHS has developed updated crash-testing and evaluation programs for new vehicles’ Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), it lacks the regulatory authority of NHTSA to enforce its suggestions. However, Kidd’s strongly worded article may help push NHTSA to take action on regulating automated systems and ensuring the safety of drivers and pedestrians.

In his closing statement, Kidd emphasized the importance of NHTSA’s role in saving lives, preventing injuries, and reducing costs from traffic crashes. He called on the agency to closely examine how automated systems are impacting these goals and take decisive action to address any shortcomings in regulation and oversight.

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SUV Bazar

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