Safety Guidelines Changed For People In Self-driving Cars

( People who ride in vehicles that have automated driving systems will now have new safety precautions to follow after the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration released a new report updating those protections.

These rules will provide new safety guidelines for all vehicles that don’t have typical manual controls such as pedals and steering wheels because they have ADS technology instead. This technology is available for people who either can’t drive themselves or simply don’t want to.

The NHTSA said that car companies that make vehicles that have ADS equipment in them have to protect the people who ride in these vehicles, even if they don’t have manual controls.

In a statement, the deputy administrator of the NHTSA, Dr. Steven Cliff, said:

“As the driver changes from a person to a machine in ADS-equipped vehicle, the need to keep the humans safe remains the same and must be integrated from the beginning. With this rule, we ensure that manufacturers put safety first.”

The NHTSA took this a step further, setting specific recommendations for children who ride in these vehicles. The agency said children should never sit in the driver’s seat when the vehicle is using ADS because that seat isn’t meant to keep children safe in a crash.

If a kid were to be in the driver’s seat of the vehicle, it wouldn’t immediately be required to stop.

Last year, the agency established safety guideline rules that covered automatic emergency braking services. The NHTSA defines that as technology that assists the driver, and it’s a feature that’s today found in most modern cars. It’s designed to help keep people in vehicles safe by reducing the chance that a car crash will happen.

Also in 2021, the agency ordered that all vehicles that have ADS are required to submit incident and crash reporting. Investigators with the NHTSA then use that information to help them identify any potential defects that the vehicle systems might have.

This is all timely, as Waymo, General Motors Co. Cruise and Tesla are all in the process of trying to launch vehicles that will be fully autonomous over the next few years. These vehicles would completely drive themselves, without the need for human control at all.

FOX Business has reported, though, that it’s unclear whether these companies or others will end up receiving clearance from the federal government to move forward with those plans.

These companies, as well as the NHTSA, are all concerned about trying to reduce the number of car crashes, especially the ones that cause serious injury or, worse, death. The vehicle manufacturers believe that one way to do that would be to integrate better autonomous technology.

According to the NHTSA, there were nearly 40,000 people killed in vehicle accidents in 2019, and many of those accidents were blamed on human error.

Are autonomous driving vehicles the solution to that problem? It’s not certain at this point, but it’s definitely a good idea that the NHTSA is getting on top of the situation as vehicle manufacturers are moving forward with development plans.