LAW: Measure would prohibit U.S. states from establishing rules on AV technology

A U.S. House Republican proposal revealed last week would bar states from setting their own rules about the designing and testing of self-driving vehicles.

The proposal also would block federal regulators from demanding pre-market approval for autonomous-vehicle (AV) technology.

The draft legislation is far from becoming law, but would benefit automakers and technology companies seeking to persuade Congress and the Trump administration to pre-empt rules under consideration in California, New York and other states that could limit deployment of self-driving vehicles.

The 45-page draft package of 14 bills would designate the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as the lead agency for regulating self-driving cars, pre-empting state rules. States could still set insurance and registration rules but could not use them as a way to regulate self-driving technologies. California has proposed changes to its self-driving car rules, but automakers said in April it has not gone far enough.

One of the bills in the proposal would allow the U.S. Department of Transportation to exempt up to 100,000 vehicles per year from U.S. federal motor vehicle safety rules, which currently prevent the sale of self-driving vehicles without steering wheels, pedals and other human controls. Another would declare crash data, other testing and validation reports from automated cars turned over to U.S. regulators to be "confidential business information."

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