Fourth of July weekend marks the beginning of summer driving season. While more drivers hit the road, safety remains a top priority for the Association and our members. Self-driving vehicle technologies are getting a lot of attention these days for their promise to reduce highway fatalities.
Last week I testified before Congress on proposed self-driving vehicle legislation. Everyone is anxious to see what is next for this emerging technology, but we need to recognize that there is still a lot of policy work that needs to be done before we see mass deployment in the marketplace.
Let’s not deny the fact that in addition to its life saving potential, the excitement around self-driving or automated vehicles is because it’s brand new. Just think how our lives changed after the introduction of the smartphone. To support widespread introduction of a new technology - like self-driving vehicles – there needs to be a set of clear set of running rules.
Safety on our roadways is critical and government plays a key role. In conjunction with Congress, and with the regulators at the Department of Transportation, policies must be developed that will foster innovation and further the deployment of self-driving technologies. To put into context, since 2007 we have had 11 generations of iPhones – each introduced with a new host of improvements in technology. We must enact a safety assurance process that is nimble and will account for the rapid pace of innovation.
No question that self-driving car technology will be a game changer for highway safety. In the meantime, as you head out for your summer road trip make sure you get your car checked before you go, buckle-up, avoid risky driving behavior, and never leave your child unattended in a car – not even for a minute. You can find more summer driving safety tips at www.safercar.gov.