FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 15, 2022
CONTACT: Pete Daniels / firstname.lastname@example.org / 301-442-2249
Members of Congress, Safety and Bicycle Advocates Commend the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for Releasing Data on Crashes Involving Vehicles with Automated Driving Technology and Call on Department of Transportation (DOT) to Advance Safeguards to Protect All Road Users
Today safety leaders in Congress as well as safety and bicycle advocates applauded the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for taking the necessary step of releasing crash data on vehicles equipped with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) that are rated as Level 2 per SAE International and vehicles with automated driving system (ADS) capabilities (SAE Levels 3 – 5).
The crash data release comes after NHTSA’s June 29, 2021 Standing General Order (SGO) which requires crash reporting, which was subsequently amended on August 5, 2021. The data show that of the 108 entities sent the SGO, only 12 reported on ADAS, revealing 392 crashes. Six crashes were fatal, five resulted in serious injuries, and another 41 resulted in minor or moderate injuries. Four involved a vulnerable road user (VRU) such as a bicyclist or a pedestrian. Twenty-five entities reported on automated driving systems (ADS), revealing 130 crashes. Sixteen crashes reportedly resulted in injuries. Eleven crashes involved a VRU including seven cyclists.
Cathy Chase, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates):
“The public has a right to know how partially automated systems and autonomous vehicles (AVs) are performing on our roadways, especially considering currently there are no federal safety standards for these newer systems. Features which fall under the overarching term of advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS, like automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning (LDW) and blind spot detection (BSD) have been shown to be effective at preventing or mitigating crashes. However, their full potential to save lives will not be realized until the DOT issues minimum performance standards. Advocates, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and others have repeatedly urged the DOT to require proven collision avoidance technology in all new vehicles. While more time is needed to analyze the data released this morning, it is clear that U.S. road users are unwitting participants in the beta testing of automated driving technology.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chair, U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Product Safety: “What has been released today is certainly a cause for deep alarm. NHTSA has to be particularly aggressive here to say no more businesses as usual. Should NHTSA find any technology to be unsafe, it ought to act promptly to ensure that that technology is forbidden, not actively put in any vehicles.”
Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA), U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Member: “Today’s report from NHTSA is alarming but not surprising. Tesla has argued that Autopilot makes us safer, but this report is yet another data point slamming the brakes on those claims. While NHTSA must act quickly to fill the gaps in its data, it is clear that Tesla is running regulatory red lights that are putting drivers, passengers, and everyone else on the road in danger. Regulators can’t be on cruise control – they must use all their regulatory and enforcement authorities to ensure that every vehicle on the road operates safely.”
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Chair, U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce: “The data NHTSA released today shows that NHTSA has a lot of work to do to help Americans realize the life-saving potential for deployment of advanced vehicle technologies. The data also shows that Tesla has demonstrated a reckless disregard for its customers, and for our nation’s road safety. Calling their advanced driving system “autopilot” is making a promise to consumers that they don’t keep. Our public roads are not proving grounds for unproven, dangerous technologies. We need advanced vehicle technologies to perform safely because our nation is suffering from an automobile safety crisis. Almost 43,000 lives were lost on our nation’s roads last year in vehicle crashes – a 16-year high. This data should be a call to action for both NHTSA and Tesla – their performance up to this point is unacceptable, and they both have a lot of work to do.”
Joan Claybrook, Former Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): “The data regarding the performance and mishaps of cars already equipped with advanced technologies as well as data regarding autonomous vehicles is troubling. I commend NHTSA Administrator Dr. Steven Cliff and his staff for their diligence and determination to collect and share this vital information. When I served as Administrator, data were the driving force behind agency safety decisions. Today’s release of data shows that vehicle system failures are putting everyone on our neighborhood streets and roads at risk. This new NHTSA data also exposes the danger of industry efforts to pass legislation in Congress to sell self-driving vehicles before they are required to be safe and secure. We are all stakeholders in the development and deployment of self-driving cars — those inside the vehicle and those outside. And we are all at risk if faulty and dangerous self-driving technology is on the road without meeting minimum government safety requirements.”
Ken McLeod, Policy Director, League of American Bicyclists: “The data released by NHTSA today provide important new information about Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Automated Driving Systems (ADS). Thanks to this release we know that people biking and scooting have been in crashes with vehicles operated by ADS, and we know that people biking and walking have been in crashes with vehicles while ADAS is active. With this data, the League of American Bicyclists calls on NHTSA to act swiftly to implement performance standards for ADS and ADAS and testing for ADAS technology in the New Car Assessment Program. Both technologies can save lives, but we need more information, standards, and testing to realize that potential.”
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is an alliance of consumer, medical, public health, law enforcement, and safety groups and insurance companies and agents working together to improve road safety in the U.S. Advocates’ mission is the adoption of federal and state laws, policies and programs that prevent motor vehicle crashes, save lives, reduce injuries, and contain costs.