Two federal agencies are taking steps to speed up the introduction of vehicles equipped with automated driving systems (ADS) on U.S. roads. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have issued advance notices of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) “on the removal of unnecessary regulatory barriers” to the use of ADS in the U.S.

“One of the Department’s priorities is to prepare for the future by engaging with new technology while addressing legitimate public concerns about safety, security, and privacy, without hampering innovation,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The NHTSA seeks comment on identifying and addressing regulatory barriers to the deployment of ADS vehicles posed by certain existing Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). The agency is also interested in hearing from the public on various approaches that could be used to measure compliance with the FMVSS for vehicles without conventional controls, including steering wheels and brake pedals.

The ANPRM released by FMCSA seeks public comment on questions regarding several key regulatory areas to better understand how changes to its rules can account for significant differences between human operators and ADS. These questions focus on topics such as: requirements of human drivers; commercial driver's license (CDL) endorsements; Hours of Service rules; medical qualifications; distracted driving; safe driving, inspection, repair, and maintenance; roadside inspections; and cybersecurity.

FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez said that it's critical for his agency to examine how to make federal rules keep up with advancing technologies

Both notices will have a 60-day comment period, which commences with the ANPRM’s formal publication in the Federal Register. The public is strongly encouraged to submit their comments to the Federal Register dockets.