Safety, Innovation, and Autonomous Vehicles

Testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce

Dear Chairwoman Schakowsky, Ranking Member Rodgers, and distinguished members of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce,

Thank you for the opportunity to submit comments on ways to improve automotive safety. It is important that policymakers consider the role of innovations such as highly autonomous vehicles (HAVs) in rapidly improving safety.

It is not news to anyone on this committee that auto-related deaths in America represent a public health crisis. Currently tens of thousands of Americans die each year in auto accidents, and the vast majority of these accidents are caused by human error. HAVs are expected to one day prevent many of these accidents. Unlike human operators, HAVs do not get drunk, drowsy, or distracted.

Using today’s traffic safety data, researchers at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and at the RAND Corporation have found that the long-term costs of delaying the deployment of HAVs can be severe—tens or hundreds of thousands of additional lives lost in the United States.

Please find this information and other reasons we favor a permissive regulatory approach towards HAVs in our recently filed public interest comment regarding regulatory exemptions for HAVs. Thank you for your consideration and for initiating this inquiry into improving auto safety.


“Safety Exemptions and the Regulatory Approach to Autonomous Vehicles” (Public Interest Comment)