On May 22, 2019 the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on the removal of unnecessary regulatory barriers to the safe introduction of Automated Driving Systems (ADS) vehicles in the United States. NHTSA and FMCSA are seeking comments at this stage to ensure that all potential approaches are fully considered as the agencies move forward with these regulatory actions.

Specifically, NHTSA is seeking comment on how they should go about “identifying and addressing regulatory barriers to the deployment of ADS vehicles posed by certain existing Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS).” The agency is additionally interested in “hearing from the public on various approaches that could be used to measure compliance with the FMVSS for vehicles without conventional controls, including steering wheels and brake pedals. Public comments received during this stage will help inform NHTSA’s path forward.” Similarly, The FMCSA has asked for comments on “Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) that may need to be amended, revised, or eliminated to facilitate the safe introduction of ADS equipped commercial motor vehicles onto our Nation’s roadways.” Furthermore, in adapting its regulations for automated vehicle technologies, “FMCSA is considering changes to its rules to account for significant differences between human operators and ADS.”

These comment periods seek questions on topics related to CDL endorsements, cybersecurity, distracted driving, hours of service rules, inspection, maintenance, medical qualifications, repair, requirements of human drivers, roadside inspections and safe driving.

With technology rapidly evolving and Congress’ inability to pass any meaningful legislation in this space, it is imperative that commercial stakeholders provide NHTSA and FMCSA with appropriate feedback on how the agency should adapt its regulations for the development of increased automated driving systems in large trucks and buses.

Read the notices.

Both notices will have a 60-day comment period, which commences with the ANPRM’s formal publication in the Federal Register. The public is encouraged to submit comments to the Federal Register dockets.