Two key congressional committees are restarting talks with relevant stakeholders to put together legislation for self-driving cars after two bills last Congress failed to be signed into law amid pushback from consumer advocates and some Senate Democrats.
“The House Committee on Energy and Commerce and Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation are working on a bipartisan and bicameral basis to develop a self-driving car bill,” the panels wrote in a letter sent to stakeholders on Tuesday that was obtained by The Hill.
The committees asked for feedback on issues involved in creating legislation on self-driving cars such as the cybersecurity of the vehicles, the privacy of data collected and how to update existing standards in place for automated vehicles.
The panels gave stakeholders until Aug. 23 to respond with feedback on the creation of the bill, and stressed that the objective of asking for feedback was to be “as inclusive as possible.”
Putting in place standards around autonomous vehicles was a major bipartisan focus during the last Congress, with the House Energy and Commerce Committee approving the Self-Drive Act and the Senate Commerce Committee pushing forward the AV START Act.
Both bills would have preempted any state laws pertaining to regulating self-driving cars, with both also including language on reducing cyber risks to the vehicles and ensuring the safety of occupants.
While the House passed the Self-Drive Act by voice vote in 2017, the Senate never took up the AV START Act due to objections over safety and security provisions in the bill by Democrats including Sens. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenate Democrats demand Trump order review of White House security clearances Graham threat to bust panel rules roils Senate tensions Congress looks to rev up discussion around self-driving car legislation MORE (Calif.), and Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyCongress looks to rev up discussion around self-driving car legislation Climate policy is expensive, but so is climate change We can’t tackle the migrant crisis without fighting climate change MORE (Mass.).
In May, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerCongress looks to rev up discussion around self-driving car legislation Lawmakers deride FTC settlement as weak on Facebook GOP pushback puts Trump judicial nominee at risk MORE (R-Miss.) said at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event that his panel is “going to deal with autonomous vehicles” during this Congress, noting that there are “wrinkles that need to be ironed out” related to any legislation introduced on this.
During the last Congress, Senate Majority Whip John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSenate barrels toward tight budget vote The Hill’s Morning Report – Attacked repeatedly, Biden fires back On The Money: Fed cuts rates for first time since financial crisis | Trump rips Fed after chief casts doubt on future cuts | Stocks slide | Senate kicks budget vote amid scramble for GOP support MORE (R-S.D.), the former Commerce Committee chairman, and Sen. Gary PetersGary Charles PetersOvernight Defense: Dems talk Afghanistan, nukes at Detroit debate | Senate panel advances Hyten nomination | Iranian foreign minister hit with sanctions | Senate confirms UN ambassador Hillicon Valley: States pose next hurdle for T-Mobile, Sprint | Williamson most searched-for candidate during debate | Lawmakers seek documents on border patrol Facebook group | FTC surprised by flood of Equifax claims Senate committee advances nomination of general accused of sexual assault MORE (D-Mich.) led the charge to get the AV START Act passed in the Senate.
Last month, both Thune and Peters indicated to reporters that they will again take the lead on legislation on self-driving cars in that chamber.