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July 29, 2019 3:00 PM, EDT

FMCSA, NHTSA Extend Comment Window on Automated Driving Systems

Automated Driving Systems Daimler

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are extending the public comment period meant to gather input on automated driving systems.

The agencies announced 30-day extensions to the comment window in separate documents filed in the Federal Register. NHTSA’s announcement was published July 29. FMCSA’s announcement is scheduled for publication July 31.

The initial comment period began in late May after FMCSA and NHTSA issued advance notices of proposed rulemaking requesting input on automated driving systems. The new deadline to submit comments is Aug. 28.

FMCSA’s notice requests comment on 10 subject areas:

  1. Whether federal safety regulations require a human driver
  2. Commercial driver license endorsements
  3. Hours-of-service rules
  4. Medical qualifications for human operators
  5. Distracted driving and monitoring
  6. Safe driving and drug and alcohol testing
  7. Inspection, repair and maintenance
  8. Roadside inspections
  9. Cybersecurity
  10. Confidentiality of shared information

FMCSA is requesting public comment on questions about these regulatory areas in order to determine how certain rule changes can account for the differences between human and automated drivers. The agency acknowledges that some rules may need to be adjusted to facilitate the safe introduction of trucks equipped with automated driving systems.

American Trucking Associations and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Technology Engagement Center requested that FMCSA extend the comment period. The organizations stated in their request that additional time was needed to gather information from members and better respond to questions posed in the ANPRM.

NHTSA Announcement by Transport Topics on Scribd

“The agency believes it is appropriate to extend the comment period to provide interested parties additional time to submit their responses to the ANPRM,” the Federal Register document states. “FMCSA believes that other potential commenters to this ANPRM will benefit from an extension as well.”

NHTSA is seeking comment on ways to address the challenges of verifying the compliance of vehicles equipped with automated driving systems with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Specifically, the agency is concerned with automated vehicles that lack traditional manual controls but have typical seating configurations.

The American Public Transportation Association requested NHTSA extend the comment period and asked the agency to hold a public meeting or webinar on the issues outlined in the ANPRM. The agency will decide whether to grant the public meeting request after it has considered the comments gathered during the extended window.