Current laws would allow for more self-driving cars on U.S. roads, despite the fact that several self-driving vehicles have been named in recent accidents. The public remains ambivalent about self-driving cars and technology, although some of that technology has already been installed in vehicles. The automobile industry has invested billions of dollars in technology for self-driving and have thrown their support along with industry leaders such as Uber and Tesla behind the AV START Act.
Many people are still not sure of what a future with autonomous cars will look like, as early tests have been hindered by accidents and problems on the road, although in small numbers. Due to the novelty of the technology, those accidents get more traction in the news media.
However, a conglomeration of safety and advocacy groups representing consumers, along with groups that represent bicyclists and the disabled, are pushing back and say that this law as it stands, must be revised significantly before it can be passed. The NHTSA addresses self-driving technology at present only with voluntary guidelines, rather than rules, which the consumer advocacy groups argue puts pedestrians, cyclists and motorists all in danger. Some states have already enacted their own, including California.
California requires companies to register any autonomous test vehicle directly with the DMV and to report all disengagements or crashes. Disengagements refer to what happens when a human tester is required to take over the wheel in the event of an incident.