In August 2020, the Inspector General for the US Department of Transportation announced it has initiated an audit of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s oversight of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Among other things, such a review could generate recommendations for regulatory system changes to better address potentially transformative new motor vehicle systems and technologies.

Increased vehicle automation and self-driving and connected cars hold real promise for transformative improvements in road and motor vehicle safety, mobility, human productivity, vehicle emissions and even land use. However, existing regulations are often a poor fit or even illogical when applied to such emerging technologies and can unnecessarily impede safety and performance advances. Simultaneously, those same complex technologies threaten to outstrip the capacity of the existing regulatory system and the federal auto safety agency to expeditiously generate and enforce meaningful and effective safety standards.