NACTO Pushes Back as Big Auto Seeks Safety Exemption for Driverless Cars

The National Association of City Transportation Officials officials is crying foul as two of America’s largest automakers try to weasel past federal safety standards to deploy autonomous vehicles without any human safety controls on our roads.

In letters to federal regulators, NACTO is opposing petitions by Ford and General Motors for an exemption that would let the companies annually field 2,500 Automated Driving System vehicles without steering wheels, brake pedals and mirrors — that is, the controls that lets humans take over if the high-tech machinery goes haywire. The cars would be used for ride sharing and delivery services and wouldn’t be sold directly to consumers, the companies said.

The feds should deny the petitions until the companies can provide evidence or data their ADS vehicles are “at least equal to the overall safety level of a compliant vehicle driven by a reasonably prudent, licensed driver,” NACTO Executive Director Corinne Kisner wrote to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.