Inhofe Praises Committee Passage of AV START Act

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) praised the passage of the AV START Act by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Technology today. The bipartisan legislation establishes a framework for the testing, certification, and deployment of self-driving vehicles. 

“I was proud to support the passage of the AV START Act today out of the Commerce committee,” Sen. Inhofe said. “This bill will foster innovation in emerging technology full of potential that will create jobs, increase access to transportation and promote safety. As over 90 percent of all vehicle crashes are attributed to human error, more automated technologies will reduce crashes – saving lives across the nation by improving roadway safety.”

Senator Inhofe introduced two common-sense amendments to the AV START Bill.

The first amendment would expand the AV START Act to remove the weight limit on the vehicles this bill will apply to:

“As cars, light trucks and other large vehicles are all using our nation’s infrastructure, it is common sense that a single framework for safety and performance standards should be equally applied to all motor vehicles. To promote safety and have clear guidelines for all parties, we should have a unified standard for all vehicles, rather than a piece-by-piece approach.”

The amendment was supported by American Trucking Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Consumer Technology Association, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, Truck Renting and Leasing Association, Fedex, UPS, Waste Management, Navistar International Corporation, Volvo, Uber, Embark Technologies, National Safety Council and Competitive Enterprise Institute. Read their letters of support here.

Inhofe withdrew his amendment, but pledged to continue to advocate for a unified framework for all autonomous motor vehicles.

The Senator also proposed an amendment to establish a committee that would bring all relevant stakeholders together to discuss the control of and access to data produced by autonomous vehicles and propose policy recommendations to Congress:

“It is vitally important that the federal government responsibly and effectively determine how to regulate the data that is produced by autonomous vehicles. By bringing key stakeholders together to form policy recommendations, we can inform the framework for future regulatory activity to promote user privacy, respect proprietary data and enhance public safety.”

After working with relevant stakeholders, Inhofe’s amendment was incorporated into the bill by voice vote. This amendment was supported by Advantage Rent A Car, American Automotive Leasing Association, American Bus Association, American Car Rental Association, Automotive Service Association, Avis Budget Group, Enterprise, Fast Track Leasing, Geotab, Hertz, NAFA Fleet Management Association, National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, National Consumers League, Property and Casualty Insurance Association of America and Safelite Group. Read their joint letter of support here.

The Commerce Committee also passed the TSA Modernization Act today. This bipartisan legislation established meaningful reforms for the reorganization of TSA and reauthorized TSA aviation security policies and programs. This bill included an amendment from Sen. Inhofe that requires TSA to work with institutions of higher education engaged in canine research as well as non-profits as TSA increases the number of canine teams dedicated to passenger and cargo security screening.

“Canine units play a critical role in protecting the safety of airline travelers and screening air cargo, and this bill rightfully directs TSA to increase the number of trained canine units. My amendment ensures that TSA works with colleges and universities engaged in important research effort, like the remarkable program at Oklahoma State University, to ensure that canine teams are trained in the most effective and efficient manner.”

Inhofe’s amendment was accepted by the committee in a voice vote.