Panel explores how humans, robot cars will interact
Melissa Nann Burke, Detroit News Washington Bureau 7:29 p.m. EST December 6, 2016
“At a Capitol Hill roundtable Tuesday, industry reps and lawmakers grappled with potential safety issues concerning how human drivers will interact with emerging autonomous technologies on roadways.
“The discussion, organized by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, drew a standing-room-only crowd on a rainy day in Washington. . .
“Chris Spear, president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations, said Congress could help by promoting cooperation and coordination among federal agencies with a role in overseeing various parts of the autonomous vehicle revolution — from NHTSA to the Federal Communications Commission, to the Environmental Protection Agency, to the Departments of Homeland Security and Agriculture.”
That sounds a lot like my suggestions for a national Vision Zero strategy, including a National Vision Zero Goal, a White House Vision Zero Task Force, Vision Zero Rulemaking, and a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman to oversee/coordinate/facilitate all of it!
President Obama wrote an Op-Ed about the role of government in overseeing the development of self-driving cars. I find one of his comments very interesting:
There are always those who argue that government should stay out of free enterprise entirely, but I think most Americans would agree we still need rules to keep our air and water clean, and our food and medicine safe. That’s the general principle here. What’s more, the quickest way to slam the brakes on innovation is for the public to lose confidence in the safety of new technologies.
Both government and industry have a responsibility to make sure that doesn’t happen. And make no mistake: If a self-driving car isn’t safe, we have the authority to pull it off the road. We won’t hesitate to protect the American public’s safety.
See more here: http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/Op-Ed/2016/09/19/Barack-Obama-Self-driving-yes-but-also-safe/stories/201609200027
Well then, President Obama, I would like to discuss with you the unsafe trucks driving on the road which, at any moment, could kill an unsuspecting member of the American public — as one did my two daughters, Mary and AnnaLeah — due to inadequate underride protection. Are you ready to exercise that authority and take decisive action?
- Set a National Vision Zero Goal.
- Establish a White House Vision Zero Task Force.
- Sign a Vision Zero Executive Order to authorize the Department of Transportation to adopt a Vision Zero Rulemaking Policy.
- And then appoint a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman to advocate for the victims of vehicle violence, to protect the American public, and to mobilize citizens to act on their own behalf through a nationwide network of Vision Zero/Traffic Safety Community Action Groups.
Let’s have a serious talk about this. I’ll be in DC next week. Give me a call.
Despite much progress in highway safety, the death toll still is rising from one year to the next. Why do we mindlessly accept it? Why don’t we rally together and conquer this dreadful enemy of innocent lives?
September 9 marks the 50th anniversary of President Johnson’s signing of the Federal Highway Safety Act of 1966:
According to the July 15, 1966, Public Works committee report on the House version of the bill (H.R. 13290), each state must “have a highway safety program approved by the [Secretary of Commerce] . . . in accordance with uniform standards to be approved by the Secretary.” The legislation addressed a broad range of issues: driver education; licensing; pedestrian performance; vehicle registration and inspection; traffic control; highway design and maintenance; accident prevention, investigation, and record keeping; and emergency services. Congress authorized funds for distribution to the states, with a requirement that each state implement a highway safety program by December 31, 1968, or suffer a 10 percent reduction in apportioned funds. The legislation enjoyed strong, bipartisan support in the House. Chairman Fallon stated, “[This bill] continues the policy of meaningful cooperation between the States and the Federal Government on highway matters. I believe it is a firm step forward in the struggle to save lives, and I urge that we act with strong voice to put it into effect.” The measure passed the House by a vote of 318-3, and President Johnson signed the Highway Safety Act into law on September 9, 1966.
I only wish that we could get that same kind of support for the appointment of a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman and a nationwide network of citizens active in community Traffic Safety Advocacy Groups in 2016!
Yet, according to a recent FairWarning article, Miles to Go on Highway Safety, we are far from acting as responsibly and conscientiously as we would if we really cared about saving innocent lives from preventable vehicle violence — and that includes the oversight of “self-driving” vehicle technology development!
So, here’s a real-life scenario. What might a Traffic Safety Ombudsman do in this situation?
Auto Safety Advocates Tell Obama To Stop Rush To Get Self-Driving Cars On Road; Pull Back Autonomous Vehicle Technology ‘Guidance’ Expected Next Week http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/auto-safety-advocates-tell-obama-stop-rush-get-self-driving-cars-road-pull-back-autonomo
A coalition of auto safety advocates today called on President Obama to stop his “administration’s undue haste to get autonomous vehicle technology to the road” until enforceable safety standards are in place. They said the administration’s autonomous vehicle “guidance” expected next week should not be issued. . .
“If the manufacturers, including the high-tech companies, lack the confidence in their products to stand behind them and assume responsibility and liability when the systems they design are in control, and innocent people are injured or killed as a result, those vehicles do not belong on the road,” the letter said.
“The administration should not succumb to Silicon Valley hype about the miracles of autonomous vehicle technology. Autonomous vehicle technologies hold the promise of improving safety. But that promise can only be realized after thorough testing and a public rulemaking process that results in enforceable standards” the letter concluded.
Consumer Watchdog Letter to Obama: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrobamaav071316.pdf
Indeed. Make SAFETY a priority. Once someone dies in a crash, they never come back.
SIGN & SHARE the TRAFFIC SAFETY OMBUDSMAN Petition: https://wh.gov/i6kUj
PLEASE NOTE: If you sign the petition, be sure to go to your email. We the People will send you an email which will say this in the subject line: “Almost done! Verify your Petitions.WhiteHouse.gov account.” Follow the instructions to verify your signature.