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Walden, Latta on Senate’s Failure to Pass Self Driving Car Legislation


WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH) issued the following statement after the Senate failed to pass the bipartisan SELF DRIVE Act during the 115th Congress. This landmark legislation would have established the first national framework for the safe and innovative development of self driving cars in the U.S.

“It is extremely disappointing that the Senate will not be able to finish its work on self-driving car legislation this year. In the House, we passed the SELF DRIVE Act in the summer of 2017 after hundreds of meetings and discussions on self driving vehicles and the many ways this technology could make our roads safer. The SELF DRIVE Act, which passed committee 54-0 and was approved by the House unanimously, serves as an example of how Congress should work in a bipartisan way to deliver results for the American people. Leaving the 115th Congress without getting self driving vehicle legislation across the finish line is more than just a missed opportunity, it threatens to derail efforts for the United States to be the leader in the advancement and development of this potentially life-saving technology,” said Chairman Walden and #SubDCCP Chairman Latta.

The leaders continued, “With more than 37,000 American lives lost last year on our roads mainly due to human error, we need to be prioritizing improved safety technologies. Self driving cars have the potential to save lives and drastically improve the mobility of seniors, people with disabilities, and those underserved by traditional public transportation. This technology was pioneered in the U.S, and we believe keeping these jobs here is critically important. Without action, we risk falling behind other countries. After today’s frustrating news, we will turn the page and continue our efforts to push for the safe testing, oversight, and deployment of this technology in the new Congress.”


Last year, the committee-led SELF DRIVE Act, passed the House by voice vote. The legislation would:

  • Require the submission of safety assessment certifications by manufacturers of self-driving cars which provides greater transparency for disclosures for the public.
  • Improve the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) access to safety data for future updates and developments of safety standards.
  • Strengthen NHTSA’s ability to update 1970s era regulations which do not contemplate the features and functions of a self-driving car.
  • Maintains NHTSA’s broad recall authority to remove unsafe cars from our roadways, as well as impose civil and criminal penalties it deems appropriate.
  • Clarifies the state and federal roles with respect to self-driving cars. States will continue to perform their traditional role in regulating vehicle registration, licensing, driving education and training, insurance, law enforcement, crash investigations, safety and emissions inspections, congestion management, and traffic laws. NHTSA will continue to be the sole agency responsible for safety by regulating the design, construction, and performance of self-driving cars to avoid requirements that would prohibit or limit interstate commerce and travel.


Press Release