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Latta, McMorris Rodgers Urge Administration to Expedite Regulations for Autonomous Delivery Vehicles

BOWLING GREEN OH – Today, Representatives Bob Latta (R-OH) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA),  Republican leaders of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittees on Communications and Technology & Consumer Protection and Commerce, respectively, urged the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to expedite planned regulations for autonomous delivery vehicles capable of contactless deliveries. 

In the letter, the E&C leaders said, “In light of the current pandemic, it is critical NHTSA prioritize this work because contactless delivery of medicine, food, and other necessities can help decrease the spread of disease by making it easier for customers to remain safely at home while receiving affordable deliveries. Occupant-less autonomous vehicles are designed specifically for contactless last-mile delivery. Autonomous delivery pilot programs are already underway in several states, including delivering groceries and packages in senior citizen communities to allow our seniors to remain safely at home, COVID tests at clinics, and meals to temporary hospitals.”

They continued, “The current Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) were not developed with occupantless vehicles in mind. While requirements such as seatbelts, windshields, and airbags are prudent to protect the safety of passengers, they are unnecessary for a vehicle with no human occupants… If we fail to advance this technology here at home, we risk ceding global leadership to China.”

The leaders also spoke to the important work that has been done on the Energy and Commerce Committee to prioritize the development of autonomous vehicles. They said, “Our committee has been working for the past four years to create a national framework for the United States to lead the world in research, development, and manufacturing of autonomous vehicles. The Energy and Commerce Committee has held five hearings on self-driving cars since November 2016, leading to unanimous Committee and House passage of the SELF DRIVE Act in 2017. Although the Senate was not able to pass this legislation last Congress, we are continuing to work on the bill. E&C Republicans also recently introduced the ‘Advancing Unmanned Delivery Services Act,’ which would evaluate the many benefits of contactless delivery services using occupant-less and autonomous vehicles.”

Read their full letter by clicking here.  

Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH05) serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee as the Republican Leader on the Communications and Technology Subcommittee where he advocates for policies that help consumers, grow the economy and spur innovation. He also serves as an active member of the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, which he previously chaired, and the Energy Subcommittee.

Congressman Latta has served on all six Energy and Commerce subcommittees. The Energy and Commerce Committee is the oldest standing legislative committee in the U.S. House of Representatives and is vested with the broadest jurisdiction of any congressional authorizing committee.

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