WASHINGTON — Transportation safety advocates called for more stringent regulations on driverless car technology Friday, saying a majority of Americans are worried about sharing the road with the automated cars.
A poll by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety released Friday found that 64 percent of respondents across the U.S. expressed concern about driverless cars.
Cathy Chase, president of the advocacy group, said a House driverless car bill passed in September 2017 lacks basic safeguards for public safety. It does not set mandatory standards for the cars’ cybersecurity or safety features, including how drivers can take control. The Senate’s version is awaiting a vote in that chamber, but also is less stringent than safety groups want.
Jack Gillis, spokesman for the Consumer Federation of America, said the Senate failed to outline specific elements of an effective security plan for these new vehicles. “Simply telling companies to come up with something is irresponsible,” he said.
General Motors revealed their zero-emission self-driving car Thursday. A GM Safety Report claims the car’s design can navigate “aggressive drivers, jaywalkers, bicyclists, delivery trucks, construction… and countless other factors that arise when driving in the city.”
Auto makers don’t want Department of Transportation regulations, saying they would hamper plans to get driverless cars to the marketplace. But safety groups consider the lack of strict standards irresponsible, saying Congress “refuses to say no” to the auto industry.
Chase said the “serious public concerns” expressed in her group’s poll should be an “urgent wake-up call to Congress to change course” when the Senate bill is under review.
Gillis called driverless cars “a technological vaccine that could dramatically reduce fatality in auto accidents.”
“Like any successful vaccine, self-driving cars need to be thoroughly tested to specific standards before they are made available to the public,” he said.
Concerned about sharing roads with driverless vehicles
Support safety standards for new driverless car features
Don't support AV exemptions from current safety standards