🚘 Are federal autonomous vehicle regulations coming?

Companies working on self-driving cars were able to breathe easy when Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced earlier this month at CES that new guidelines for autonomous car makers would be optional. But these companies’ good feelings might not last for long. 

  • Safety advocates are pissed: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and a host of other auto safety advocates expected mandatory rules. One advocate told the AP the lack of rules made the self-driving car industry “a science experiment playing out in real time on our roadways.” 

  • But automakers want to experiment: They need it, if they ever want to get cars on the road. Despite claims that self-driving cars would be a regular site now, autonomous vehicle progress has been slow.  

The Verdict 

Contrary to fears of overregulation, an established set of federal rules could actually help the cars get on the road faster, as it would prevent the automakers from dealing as much with individual states. Analysts who study the industry told Law.com they expect regulations to eventually be enacted through federal legislation.