Washington, D.C.—In response to the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee’s hearing on autonomous vehicles (AVs), and the leadership taken by Senators Thune (R-SD) and Peters (D-MI), Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) President and CEO Robbie Diamond released the following statement:
“Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) is encouraged by Congressional action to advance autonomous vehicle (AV) policy given the many ways this technology will improve the lives of countless people, prevent deaths, and mitigate our nation’s oil dependence. Congress has an important role to play in expediting the safe deployment of these vehicles on public roads by judiciously establishing a single, national regulatory framework. AVs are a national issue which requires a national policy. While critical to avoid overregulation, not being clear about basic performance standards creates a situation in which developers do not have a clear understanding of safety standard to build towards, and a policy vacuum forms that invites states to continue to create a messy patchwork of regulations as they step into the role the federal government must play. A unified national framework, that includes federal preemption of conflicting state standards, would address both of these growing challenges—and we urge lawmakers to continue moving forward swiftly.”
Until a unified national framework is in place, SAFE believes that states should refrain from imposing AV regulations that may create unnecessary delays in deployment of the technology. Federal preemption has the ability to provide the much-needed certainty to automotive and technology companies, and will spur increased AV development across the country.
In January, SAFE’s Commission on Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Safety, a panel of experts and former public officials committed to the safe and timely introduction of AVs, released its best-practice recommendations for AV deployment. These recommendations emphasized the need for a modern regulatory environment, as well as industry-government communication.
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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