New Mexico to See Real Benefits from Federal Self-Driving Legislation
WASHINGTON, Aug. 24, 2017 : The Coalition for Future Mobility - a growing coalition of twelve transportation, passenger safety, and consumer interest stakeholders - today urged the timely and thoughtful passage of federal self-driving vehicle legislation now before Congress.HR 3388, the Self Drive Act, unanimously passed the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee late last month; companion action awaits introduction in the Senate in September.
"This Congress has a tremendous opportunity to accelerate the deployment of automated technologies to save lives, reduce traffic congestion, reduce fuel use and carbon emissions, expand personal mobility and meet our nation's current and future infrastructure, environmental and economic challenges," the group said in a statement.
The coalition continued, "The list of benefits automation can provide touch every angle of personal mobility. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 35,092 people died in traffic crashes in 2015, and 94 percent of all crashes include human error as a factor. Highly Automated Vehicles (HAVs) and related technologies can help address crashes related to human error."
Getting HAV technologies on the road is important to New Mexico residents. Consider:
•On an average day in New Mexico, 124 crashes occur involving 316 people. Fifty-three are injured. One is killed.
•The top contributing factors in New Mexico crashes are driver inattention (21 percent), failure to yield right of way (13 percent), and following too closely (11 percent).
•The top contributing factors in New Mexico highway fatalities are alcohol or drugs (42 percent), excessive speed (18 percent), and driver inattention (10 percent).
•The number of total crashes and total people in crashes in New Mexico are at their highest levels in the past five years.
(source: New Mexico Department of Transportation, New Mexico Traffic Crash Annual Report 2015)
The development and deployment of HAVs can greatly improve these statistics as well as promise cleaner air and enhanced independence and self-sufficiency. Federal leadership is critical if the United States is to continue as a place of innovation, development, and ultimately deployment of such vehicle technologies.
With his position on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, New Mexico Senator Tom Udall is in a unique position to help shepherd this bipartisan legislation through the Committee he serves on to bring these potentially life-saving technologies to New Mexico motorists.
For 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that nearly 14,000 lives were saved due to seat belts, and an additional 2,500 saved by the deployment of front air bags. In the future, we could see NHTSA estimating the thousands of lives saved by HAV technologies.
Members of the Coalition include: The Alliance for Transportation Innovation, the American Highway Users Alliance (AHUA), the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the Auto Alliance, the Automotive Service Association (ASA), Global Automakers, Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, the National Cued Speech Association, the National Federation of the Blind, Securing America's Future Energy, Segs4Vets and 60 Plus.