Senate to Consider Pavements and Driverless Cars

US Senate will consider a bill to improve roadway safety and autonomous vehicles, which could result in new standards for optimizing road pavement materials and markings


The Senate is preparing consideration of a bill to improve roadway safety and autonomous vehicles (S. 1885). The House passed a similar bill (H.R. 3388) earlier in the year.

If enacted into law, the bills may result in new road standards to ensure optimization of pavement materials and markings. To help build confidence in self-driving vehicle technologies, the Senate legislation would require manufacturers to provide a safety evaluation report to the U.S. Department of Transportation that outlines any roadway or infrastructure assets, such as pavement markings, required for the operation of the vehicle or automated driving system, as well as an explanation of how the vehicle/system would respond to unexpected changes in external conditions, such as work zones.

The bill would require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to complete several rulemakings and establish two advisory councils on HAV technology and consumer education. The bill also would require NHTSA and the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center) within the Department of Transportation (DOT) to complete several studies on the issues surrounding the use of HAVs.

CBO estimates that implementing the legislation would cost $22 million over the 2018-2022 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts.