NHTSA extends comment period on automated driving framework

January 28, 2021

Mark Schremmer


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is giving the public an additional two months to comment on its advance notice of proposed rulemaking regarding automated vehicle safety.

In December, NHTSA published a notice looking at the development of a framework for Automated Driving System safety. The comment period was set to end Feb. 1. However, on Thursday, Jan. 28, the agency announced that it had accepted a request from Venable LLP to extend the comment period for 60 days.

Comments on the notice will now be accepted through April 1.

“The framework would objectively define, assess, and manage the safety of ADS performance while ensuring the needed flexibility to enable further innovation,” the notice stated. “The agency is seeking to draw upon existing federal and nonfederal foundational efforts and tools in structuring the framework automated systems continue to develop.”

On Dec. 18, the law firm Venable LLP submitted a request to extend the comment period on behalf of the American Trucking Associations, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, and several other organizations.

The organizations said the advance notice of proposed rulemaking raises a substantial number of technical and policy questions that require significant discussion and analysis on the part of their respective members. The groups said an extension would afford them enough time to consult with and seek input from experts across their businesses about the “many complex issues presented.”

As of Jan. 28, more than 170 comments had been submitted to the Regulations.gov website.

The additional 60 days will go more individuals and organizations the opportunity to provide input.

NHTSA specifically requested comments on:

  • What engineering and process measures should be included?
  • What aspects of ADS performance are suitable for potential safety performance standards?
  • Whether ADS-specific regulations are appropriate or necessary prior to the broad commercial deployment of the technology.
  • How could regulations be developed consistent with the agency’s legal obligations without being based upon the existence of commercially available ADS technology from which to measure required performance?
  • Which type or types of administrative mechanisms would be most appropriate for constructing the framework?

OOIDA and other groups have raised concerns about rushing into automation before the technology is ready. A recent study was critical on drivers’ overreliance on automation.

Comments can be made at the Regulations.gov website by entering Docket No. NHTSA-2020-0106. LL

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Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.