A U.S. House panel voted this Wednesday, July 19 in favor of legislation to allow each auto manufacturer to release 100,000 self driving vehicles on the road. The automakers lobbied for the measure to be presented because they had met all the safety standards federally regulated but didn’t want to get bogged down by all of the state’s requirements. The lawmakers were in favor of the bill because of the 7.7% rise in automotive accidents last year.
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 have to show self-driving cars “function as intended and contain fail safe features” to get exemptions from safety standards. Automakers would still have to submit safety reports to regulators but they would not be required to obtain pre-market approval for the vehicles.
Under the proposal. the states will still set rules on registration, licensing, liability, insurance and safety inspections, but could not set self-driving car performance standards.
If it’s signed into law, the legislation would be the first to address the new and rapidly growing autonomous vehicle industry.