Florida to see real benefits from federal self-driving legislation

Congress Set to Act on Broad New Rules to Bring Important Safety Innovations to Market

The Coalition for Future Mobility – urged the timely and thoughtful passage of federal self-driving vehicle legislation now before Congress. HR 3388, the Self Drive Act, unanimously passed the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee late last month, companion action awaits introduction in the Senate in September.

“This Congress has a tremendous opportunity to accelerate the deployment of automated technologies to save lives, reduce traffic congestion, reduce fuel use and carbon emissions, expand personal mobility and meet our nation’s current and future infrastructure, environmental and economic challenges,” the group said in a statement.

The coalition continued, “The list of benefits automation can provide touch every angle of personal mobility. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 35,092 people died in traffic crashes in 2015, and 94 percent of all crashes include human error as a factor. Highly Automated Vehicles (HAVs) and related technologies can help address crashes related to human error.”

Getting HAV technologies on the road is important to Floridians. Consider:

  • Florida averages over 1,000 traffic accidents each day, a nine percent increase over the prior year.
  • Florida’s traffic fatality rate is higher than the national average.
  • With the highest percentage of population aged 65 or older (17.3 percent), more senior traffic fatalities (539) occur in Florida than any other state.
  • Another 388 fatalities occurred in accidents by young Florida drivers aged 15 to 20.
  • Almost one-third of Florida’s 2,939 annual traffic fatalities involved a young/inexperienced or senior driver (31 percent).
  • Florida has the highest number of car/pedestrian fatalities in the nation.
  • More per capita fatal car-bike accidents occur in Florida than any other state.
  • More vehicle-related drowning fatalities occur in Florida than any other state.

The development and deployment of HAVs can greatly improve these statistics as well as promise cleaner air and enhanced independence and self-sufficiency. Federal leadership is critical if the United States is to continue as a place of innovation, development, and ultimately deployment of such vehicle technologies.

With his position as Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, Florida Senator Bill Nelson is in a unique position to help shepherd this bipartisan legislation through the Committee he serves on to bring these potentially life-saving technologies to Florida motorists. Earlier this year, Senator Nelson articulated key principles that would guide his work to see self-driving legislation move in the U.S. Senate.

For 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that nearly 14,000 lives were saved due to seat belts, and an additional 2,500 saved by the deployment of front air bags. In the future, we could see NHTSA estimating the thousands of lives saved by HAV technologies.

Members of the Coalition include: The Alliance for Transportation Innovation, the American Highway Users Alliance (AHUA), the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the Auto Alliance, the Automotive Service Association (ASA), Global Automakers, Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, the National Cued Speech Association, the National Federation of the Blind, Securing America’s Future Energy, Segs4Vets and 60 Plus.

Source: Coalition For Future Mobility