Consumers Union: Senate Self-Driving Cars Bill Has Some Improvements, But Major Concerns Remain 

Experts

Director of Cars and Product Policy and Analysis
Policy Analyst
Communications Director
Sr. Media Relations Associate

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

 

Washington, DC — The Senate Commerce Committee today completed a markup of a bill that would seek to speed up the introduction of self-driving cars in the marketplace.

Prior to the markup of the legislation, Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports, raised serious concerns about the bill, saying it contained several provisions that would weaken auto safety laws and leave consumers at risk. The bill is called the American Vision for Safer Transportation through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies Act, or AV START Act (S. 1885).

While the committee today made some improvements to the bill, CU said lawmakers must go much further to ensure the self-driving cars of the future are safe.

David Friedman, Director of Cars and Product Policy and Analysis for Consumers Union, said, “It’s a better bill today than it was yesterday, but we still have major concerns about this bill’s impact on consumer safety protections.

“Thanks to several senators’ amendments, the bill would now give consumers more information about about self-driving cars and corporate practices related to data collected by a vehicle. The bill also now includes a critical provision to prevent child heatstroke by requiring new vehicles to come equipped with a rear seat occupant alert.

“But these improvements do not solve fundamental problems with the bill. We remain very concerned by how the legislation would undermine safeguards on which consumers rely. We will continue to work with senators to further improve the bill so that it sets up a safety framework that better protects consumers in partially and fully automated cars.”

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Contact: David Butller, dbutler@consumer.org, or Kara Kelber, kara.kelber@consumer.org202-462-6262

Consumers Union is the policy and mobilization division of Consumer Reports.  Consumers Union works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace. Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization.  Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually.  Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications.