At a House Energy and Commerce hearing today on enhancing vehicle technology to prevent drunk driving, Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) reiterated its call for a bipartisan approach which leverages the life-saving benefits of autonomous vehicle technologies to urgently reduce the alarming number of deaths that occur on U.S. roads every year.
For the hearing, SAFE submitted a letter of record, commending the bipartisan approach that resulted in the passage of the SELF DRIVE Act (H.R. 3388) in the previous Congress, which would have established a regulatory framework to spur the safe deployment of AVs. SAFE urged Congress to expediently consider and pass similar legislation this year. In addition, SAFE encouraged the committee to seize other opportunities to leverage advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and crash-avoidance technologies to combat the public health crisis unfolding on our roads.
“We were happy to see the strong bipartisan support that made the House passage of the SELF DRIVE Act so swift and decisive in the previous Congress. While it was disappointing that autonomous vehicle legislation was not enacted into law last year, it’s encouraging to hear that members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are aiming for a similar effort this year. For the tremendous potential that autonomous vehicles hold to be realized, a bipartisan approach is crucial,” said Robbie Diamond, President and CEO, SAFE.
In 2018, for the third straight year, 40,000 people lost their lives on U.S. roads. The National Safety Council estimates that approximately one-third of all fatalities are alcohol-related. If the current suite of ADAS and crash-avoidance technologies are deployed, approximately 9,900 lives could be saved every year—and these technologies form the foundation for autonomous vehicles, which are incapable of driving under the influence of alcohol and are being programmed to drive safely and responsibly.
“SAFE applauds efforts in both chambers to facilitate the development of much-needed federal AV regulations. It is unconscionable that 40,000 people died on our roads in 2018 for the third straight year, so it is more important than ever to create a regulatory framework to allow the safe, expeditious deployment of autonomous vehicles,” Diamond added.
About Securing America’s Future Energy
Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) is an action-oriented, nonpartisan organization that aims to reduce America’s dependence on oil. Near-total dependence on petroleum in the transportation sector undermines the nation’s economic and national security, and constrains U.S. foreign policy. To combat these threats, SAFE advocates for expanded domestic production of U.S. oil and gas resources, continued improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency, and transportation sector innovations including electric vehicles, natural gas trucks, and autonomous vehicles. In 2006, SAFE joined with General P.X. Kelley (Ret.), 28th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President, and CEO of FedEx Corporation, to form the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a group of business and former military leaders committed to reducing the United States’ dependence on oil. Today, the ESLC is co-chaired by Frederick W. Smith and General James T. Conway (Ret), 34th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.
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