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House panel to explore 14 driverless car bills next week

House panel to explore 14 driverless car bills next week
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House lawmakers will explore more than a dozen driverless car bills next week, formally kicking off an effort in the lower chamber to craft major autonomous vehicle legislation.

An Energy and Commerce subcommittee will hold a hearing next Tuesday to allow lawmakers to discuss 14 pieces of new draft legislation that deal with self-driving vehicles. The measures may be wrapped into a larger package the panel is putting together.
 
The hearing comes as lawmakers on both sides of the Capitol are racing to address the rapidly emerging technology.

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“These discussion drafts are a significant step towards introduction of meaningful legislation that will ensure consumer safety and provide clarity for federal and state governments on their role in regulating self-driving vehicles,” said Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio), chairman of the Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee.

“This hearing provides an opportunity to start this critically important discussion here in the House. Next week, members will explore how this legislation can increase safety, improve access and mobility, and grow our understanding of self-driving cars.”

Some of the ideas under consideration include barring federal regulators from requiring pre-market approval for autonomous vehicle technology, allowing up to 100,000 vehicles per year to be exempt from traditional automobile standards and establishing a framework for how developers should share test and crash data.

Lawmakers in the Senate are also working on a similar effort. A bipartisan trio unveiled a broad outline of its own driverless car legislation last week, with a formal proposal likely to be introduced later this summer.

 

There are currently no overarching federal laws specifically governing the operation and deployment of self-driving cars, though there are a number of laws on the books that they must comply with. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also released voluntary, flexible guidelines for developers last fall.