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Implications of Connected and Automated Driving Systems, Vol. 4: Autonomous Vehicle Action Plan (2018)

Chapter: Chapter 4. Barriers to Legislative and Regulatory Modifications

« Previous: Chapter 3. Prioritization and Harmonization of C/ADS Legislative and Regulatory Changes
Page 44
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4. Barriers to Legislative and Regulatory Modifications." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Implications of Connected and Automated Driving Systems, Vol. 4: Autonomous Vehicle Action Plan. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25292.
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Page 44
Page 45
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4. Barriers to Legislative and Regulatory Modifications." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Implications of Connected and Automated Driving Systems, Vol. 4: Autonomous Vehicle Action Plan. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25292.
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Page 45

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NCHRP 20-102(07) Autonomous Vehicle Action Plan – A Roadmap for States 44 Barriers to Legislative and Regulatory Modifications 4.1 Potential Barriers to Modifications There may be some barriers to modifying legislation and regulations. Recognizing barriers and the role of different entities in addressing them will be helpful in the modification process. Among those playing a role are federal and state governments, technology companies, suppliers and OEMs (and many other stakeholders), consumers, state legislatures, and researchers. Based on input from the legal and regulatory needs assessment (Serian et al., 2017) and further discussions conducted with stakeholders, the following barriers were identified and suggestions for addressing them provided. Lagging Legislative Action A lagging legislative timeframe and a traditional approach to law changes in a non-traditional environment are among the greatest barriers to advancing C/ADS deployment laws. Forming advisory committees, especially committees that include legislative representation, begins to address this barrier foundationally. A Quick-Fix Approach An effort to “fit” C/ADS related laws into current statutes without a comprehensive review and understanding of state motor vehicle codes may result in provisions that become barriers as the technology advances. An additional issue in this area is a lack of legislative understanding of C/ADS technology. Continual legislative education, especially with legislative leaders, is important. Lack of a Model State Policy or Minimum Guidance This is the first time in many years that a uniform federal and state approach has been necessary outside of federally governed programs. As noted, some states are already beginning to modify or add laws. If federal and state entities do not work together, diverse and varying underlying basic definitions will create problems that will worsen over time. Associations such as AAMVA and AASHTO will be the most likely entities to work with their members in addressing this barrier.

NCHRP 20-102(07) Autonomous Vehicle Action Plan – A Roadmap for States 45 A Focus Only on Testing A barrier for state legislative changes, especially states that have not been actively involved with C/ADS legislation, is a sole focus on testing laws and regulations. With a body of references now available and with NHTSA’s guidelines, states should focus on both testing and deployment. Lack of Federal Clarifications While NHTSA has provided guidance to states, a general lack of clarification from the federal government and Congress is a significant barrier for states as they determine what deployment laws and regulations should look like. Manufacturers continue to determine what direction C/ADS deployment takes. And there is even a question as to whether the federal government or NHTSA has the required technological expertise to regulate C/ADSs. There is no way for states to overcome this barrier on their own, but they can work closely with their congressional delegations, the NGA, AAMVA and AASHTO to help accelerate clarity. Lack of or Delayed State-led C/ADS Working Group The lack of any state working group is a barrier to even beginning to assess what laws or regulations need to be modified. Implementing a working group is one of the overarching recommendations of this Assessment, and one way to address this barrier. Overstated Automation Capabilities There is some concern that manufacturers are overstating C/ADS capabilities. This, coupled with a lack of state technical support or expertise, is a barrier to willingness to move forward with modifications to laws and regulations. Approaching research institutions as well as external resources with expertise in C/ADSs can help states address this barrier in the short term. Building up state resources for this generation of transportation is a desirable longer-term approach. Lack of Best Practices Perhaps the greatest barrier to legislative and regulatory modifications is the lack of model guidelines, minimum guidelines, best practices, or model language for states. States considering modifications can use existing legislative modifications as an overall baseline for advancing their own legislative language. Additionally, continued consultation with AAMVA is recommended.

Next: Chapter 5. Overcoming Barriers Establishing a C/ADS Vehicle State Policy Task Force »
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TRB's National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Web-Only Document 253: Implications of Connected and Automated Driving Systems, Vol. 4: Autonomous Vehicle Action Plan (AVAP) develops awareness of the legislative landscape and the foundational laws and regulations that may need to be prioritized for modification for Connected and Automated Driving Systems (C/ADSs) technologies. The AVAP is intended to provide guidance and resources to state departments of motor vehicles (DMVs) and transportation (DOTs) to assist with the legal changes that will result from the rollout of C/ADS equipped vehicles.

PowerPoint Presentation slides accompany Vol. 4 and are available for download. This presentation is designed to provide a state policy task force with background information on the legal landscape for C/ADS-equipped vehicles.

View all volumes of NCHRP Web-Only Document 253:

  • Vol. 1: Legal Landscape
  • Vol. 2: State Legal and Regulatory Audit
  • Vol. 3: Legal Modification Prioritization and Harmonization Analysis
  • Vol. 4: Autonomous Vehicle Action Plan
  • Vol. 5: Developing the Autonomous Vehicle Action Plan
  • Vol. 6: Implementation Plan
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