House subcommittee approves self-driving car legislation

House subcommittee approves self-driving car legislation
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A House panel advanced a bill on Wednesday that would ease restrictions on self-driving cars, allowing automakers to manufacture up to 100,000 autonomous vehicles a year.

The legislation, which passed the House Commerce consumer protection subcommittee by voice vote, would exempt that yearly allotment from safety standards and would also pre-empt state laws concerning driverless cars.

If it’s signed into law, the legislation would be the first to address the budding autonomous vehicle industry.

Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio), the chairman of the subcommittee, said that boosting the industry is vital to car safety.

“We don’t have to accept a world where millions of accidents and thousands of fatalities on the roadway are a necessary evil of driving,” Latta said. “In a nation of over 320 million, each year approximately 6 million Americans are involved in vehicular accidents, resulting in nearly 2 million injuries.”

Automakers would still have to submit safety reports to regulators but they would not be required to obtain premarket approval for the vehicles.

The industry has been pushing for lawmakers to take up the issue and put in place federal laws in order to avoid having to navigate a patchwork of varying state laws governing driverless cars.