More than 20 Organizations Express Concerns to Congress about Legislation on Autonomous Vehicles that Does Not Include Needed Safeguards and Regulations to Protect All Road Users

  • July 19, 2023
150 150 Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety


More than 20 Organizations Express Concerns to Congress about Legislation on Autonomous Vehicles that Does Not Include Needed Safeguards and Regulations to Protect All Road Users on our Nation’s Roadways

(Washington, DC-July 19, 2023) More than 20 leading safety, consumer, public health, pedestrian, bicyclist, motorcyclist, crash victim and other organizations sent a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce in response to a recently announced hearing on Wednesday, July 26, 2023, to consider legislation on the future deployment of autonomous vehicles (AVs).

The letter urged the Subcommittee “not to advance legislation that will turn our Nation’s public roadways into private testing grounds and turn the public against this technology.”

Cathy Chase, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety: “With nearly 43,000 people killed on our Nation’s roads in 2021 and egregiously high fatality estimates for last year, Congress must take action to make our roads safer, not open them up to unproven and unregulated vehicles. The documented chaotic real-world experience of robotaxis in San Francisco must be keenly observed and must inform future policies. There is a clear disconnect between the verified AV incidents in San Francisco where first responders have been hampered in their duties at police crime scenes, fire calls and traffic disruptions, and the push for legislation in Congress to allow expansive deployment without needed safety regulations.”

Michael Brooks, Executive Director, Center for Auto Safety: “There remain serious doubts about the true benefits of autonomous vehicles, and numerous concerns around AV safety and security that remain unaddressed by federal law. While the AV industry continues to parrot myths about the competitive threat of China, and preach the gospel of a future driverless society, they also continue to support legislation that is focused on eviscerating consumer protections in order to prop up an industry that has proven to be more trouble than it is worth on America’s roads.  Any proposed federal legislation on AV’s must preserve consumer rights and ensure that AV’s are introduced safely by banning forced arbitration, adequately funding NHTSA to take on the task of crafting mandatory regulations that help ensure AV’s are safe AND secure throughout their operation, and preserving the authority of local authorities to regulate their own streets.“

Joan Claybrook, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration former administrator: “AVs are demonstrating day after day that they jeopardize the safety of road users including first responders on public roads. Legislation soon to be considered in Congress that does not do what’s needed to protect the public is dangerous and illogical. Congress needs to tune into what’s happening in real time outside the Beltway and advance safety standards instead of opening the floodgates for more unproven self-driving tech.”

Bill Nesper, Executive Director, The League of American Bicyclists: “The League of American Bicyclists believes that any automated vehicle bill must address the safety of people outside of automated vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrians, pedalcyclists, and other nonoccupants represented 20% of traffic deaths in 2020. Motorcyclists represented another 14%, making people outside of vehicles 34% of traffic deaths. Automated vehicles will not realize their promised safety improvements if they are not required to be safe for people who represent more than a third of traffic deaths. Therefore, any automated vehicle bill must include a vision test showing that the technology can safely detect and respond to vulnerable road users of all races and ethnicities. Other nations will not accept unsafe automated vehicles and if Congress wants the United States to lead on automated vehicles then Congress must ensure that automated vehicles developed in America are safe for all people, including people outside of vehicles. By including a vision test, Congress can embrace a leading role in automated vehicle safety by leading with the value that everyone should be made safer by automated vehicles.”

Sally Greenberg, CEO, National Consumers League: “Autonomous vehicles are not ready for prime time and should not be deployed until proving they can be operated safely on our roads and highways. The responsibility to make them safe belongs with the regulatory agencies and the companies deploying this technology, not drivers and others whose lives depend on vigorously enforced automobile safety standards.”


Media Contact: Helen Jonsen