“What has been released today is certainly a cause for deep alarm,” said Blumenthal
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – In case you missed it, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) joined his Congressional colleagues and auto and bicycle safety advocates at a virtual press conference today following the release of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data on crashes involving vehicles equipped with partial or fully automated driving technology.
Citing data showing 520 crashes of vehicles equipped with driving automation technology, nearly 400 of which occurred in vehicles with currently widely-available driver assistance technologies, Blumenthal said, “It is a ringing alarm bell affirming many of the warnings that we’ve made over the years…We need more investigation to determine exactly where the defects are, what the dangers may be, and what steps to take in protecting the public.”
Joined by U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA), U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the League of American Bicyclists, and former NHTSA Administrator Joan Claybrook, Blumenthal called on NHTSA to take action to counter the industry’s lackluster safety record.
“NHTSA’s intervention is particularly important because of the denial and outright deception that we’ve seen. You know, it would be one thing if the industry were self-policing and self-investigating and disclosing fully to consumers what the dangers and perils are. Instead, they’ve been dismissive and in denial, and that is particularly a disservice to motorists, pedestrians, and everyone else in danger because it creates a false sense of security and safety,” said Blumenthal. “NHTSA has to be particularly aggressive here to say no more businesses as usual.”
“Should NHTSA find any technology to be unsafe, it ought to act promptly to ensure that that technology is forbidden, not actively put in any vehicles,” Blumenthal concluded.
Earlier today, Blumenthal and Markey also wrote to NHTSA urging aggressive investigative and enforcement action on vehicles with automated driving systems and advanced driver assistance systems to ensure the safety of all road users.
Video of the press conference can be found here.