Laura Fraade-Blanar & Nidhi Kalra, Autonomous Vehicles and Federal Safety Standards:An Exemption to the Rule? (PE-258-RC) (Rand Corp. 2017) (full-text).
This Perspective examines changes being considered to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) exemption process that are aimed at facilitating deployment of autonomous vehicles (AVs). It finds that, although FMVSS pose an obstacle to the deployment of many AV designs, the proposed solution — an adaption of the existing exemption process — is not well suited to AVs because traditional methods of evaluating vehicle safety as a precondition to granting exemptions are largely inapplicable. Additionally, the proposed approach may increase the public's exposure to risk by greatly raising the limit on the number of exempted vehicles using this new technology, and may add to the burdens on regulators by raising the number of exemption requests.