Consumer Watchdog warns on proposed California autonomous vehicle regulations

Public interest group Consumer Watchdog this week warned that the revised autonomous vehicle regulations proposed by the California Department of Motor Vehicles risk weakening safety protections, as they rely on ‘nonexistent’ federal safety standards.

“The new California DMV proposal wrongly relies on the federal government, when there are absolutely no Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards applying specifically to autonomous vehicle technology,” said John Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director.

The group said that recently released autonomous vehicle guidance from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “repeatedly stressed the completely voluntary nature of the federal policies”.

“The DMV’s current self-driving car test regulations set a standard for the nation; it’s imperative that California continue to protect us when the feds won’t do their job,” said Simpson.

Consumer Watchdog called for the regulations to be strengthened and said the DMV should also immediately begin to look at regulations covering the testing of self-driving trucks.