Mark Rosekind, chief of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), recently announced that the NHTSA will release documents to serve as a framework for national regulations concerning automated and autonomous vehicles. The documents, which are scheduled for release in July, will allow states to institute additional rules or regulations regarding self-driving vehicles.
In another appearance last week, Mr. Rosekind further explained that the NHTSA has been working on a model state policy for automated vehicles to help states develop policies consistent with other states’ and federal policies and in turn promote “a uniform nationwide framework to help enable innovation.” Mr. Rosekind also noted that the NHTSA is mindful that any regulations in this industry must evolve with the industry rather than remain static for long periods of time.
Although this model policy framework will be a resource available to states, as Mr. Rosekind put it, “What the states actually implement is their call.” With these remarks, he clarified that the NHTSA has no current intention to promote binding federal regulations as a means of achieving a consistent approach to self-driving vehicle restrictions nationwide. This is undoubtedly a disappointment to the many companies in the industry that have pushed for federal regulations to promote uniformity and avoid the substantial efforts necessary to sift through the potentially conflicting state rules.