Self-driving cars get boost with unanimous vote by House panel

The legislation is the U.S. government’s first major step toward establishing a clear regulatory framework for autonomous vehicle deployment. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File) (Bloomberg) — Congress took the first step toward setting rules for self-driving cars, as a House panel unanimously approved a measure that would allow thousands of automated vehicles to hit the road while federal regulators develop safety standards and preempt state rules. Safety oversight The legislation garnered bipartisan support after Republican leaders adopted Democratic proposals for provisions to bolster safety oversight of self-driving vehicles by federal regulators. Related: Insuring autonomous vehicles “Today’s markup represents the most significant step this subcommittee has taken to date to ultimately enact comprehensive legislation on self-driving technologies and services,” said Bob Latta, the Ohio Republican who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection panel. “Our work is not done and we will continue to perfect language as we prepare to move quickly to full-committee markup.” 1st step toward regulatory framework The legislation is the U.S. government’s first major step toward establishing a clear regulatory framework for autonomous vehicle deployment. The full House Energy and Commerce Committee may vote on the bill as soon as next week, and it could reach the House floor after the August recess. The bill would allow manufacturers to deploy tens of thousands of self-driving vehicles under exemptions to U.S. transportation safety rules that currently bar autos that lack driver controls. It would also prohibit states from regulating the mechanical, software and safety systems of autonomous cars. It also contained some proposals made last week by Democrats, including a directive for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to develop a regulatory plan for autonomous vehicles and to begin writing the first of those new rules within 18 months. NHTSA would have to establish a process for granting exemptions for autonomous vehicles and make a list of those exemptions public. In the Senate, lawmakers including Republican John Thune of South Dakota and Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat, are at work on related legislation. No text of the Senate measures have been released. Preemption of state law & cybersecurity While Democrats voted for the measure, they said changes are needed on provisions related to preemption of state law and cybersecurity. The bill would require carmakers and tech firms have a cybersecurity plan in place before they deploy an autonomous vehicle. “While we have not reached a complete bipartisan agreement, the draft before us reflects true bipartisan negotiations,” said Frank Pallone of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the committee. Related: Autonomous cars to drive $81 billion in new insurance premiums Copyright 2017 Bloomberg. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

About John Fagan

John is a Jacksonville native who grew up on the First Coast. He graduated from Bishop Kenny High School in 1975 and went to college at Florida State University where he completed a 4-year program in 3 years. John graduated from the Florida State University College of Business in 1978 and went straight into Florida State University College of Law. While in law school, John earned a position on the prestigious Law Review Board serving as its Business Editor. As a law student, John studied in the Oxford program. He also interned with the Florida Legislature working in the Florida House of Representatives Criminal Justice Committee. John was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1981. John began his legal career as a law school intern in the State Attorney's Office in Jacksonville in 1981. After his internship, legendary State Attorney Ed Austin hired John as a full-time Assistant State Attorney for the Fourth Judicial Circuit (Clay, Duval, and Nassau Counties). As a prosecutor, John tried jury and non-jury trial on charges ranging from DUI to Murder. In 1983, John moved from the State Attorney's Office to begin his career in private practice. He has practiced law for 30 years on the First Coast. For the last 20 years, John and his family have made Clay County their home. John limits his practice to personal injury and disability cases. While there are many fine attorneys in Clay County, John is one of only a few Clay County attorneys who limit their practice to personal injury and disability cases. John takes pride in helping clients resolve injury claims in ways that avoid the stress, uncertainty, and the expense of unnecessary litigation. Professional Activities John is the past President of the Clay County Bar Association and has served on the Board of the Clay County Bar Association from 2009-2013. He is an active member of the Florida Bar, and the Federal Bar of the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida. He is also a member of the American Association of Justice, the Florida Association of Justice, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives, and the National Organization of Veterans' Advocates. Service to the Community John is involved in the Clay County Community serving as a member and Director of the Rotary Club of Orange Park, of the Clay County Bar Association, and the Putnam County Bar Association.
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