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Should driverless cars be exempt from state safety regulations?




MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA - SEPTEMBER 25:  A Google self-driving car is displayed at the Google headquarters on September 25, 2012 in Mountain View, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA - SEPTEMBER 25: A Google self-driving car is displayed at the Google headquarters on September 25, 2012 in Mountain View, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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As driverless car technology advances, one of the emerging questions is whether automakers should be beholden to a patchwork of local safety regulations which might inhibit the development of their tech.

The alternative would be a national regulatory framework that preempts state standards for design and performance of driverless cars, while establishing some rudimentary safety requirements. That’s what’s being pushed in the American Vision for Safer Transportation Through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies, or the AV START Act. This senate bill is being stalled by a handful of senators, including Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California), who say they’re concerned with the overriding of state and local regulations and what that would mean for public safety.

Proponents of the bill say that it would help advance autonomous vehicles and ensure that the U.S. is at the forefront of this technology.

We debate the bill and its effects.

Guests:

Jack Gillis, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America, an advocacy organization of over 250 local, state and national consumer protection groups; he is the author of “The Car Book 2018” (Gillis Pub Group, 2018)  

Marc Scribner, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian minded think-tank that focuses on regulatory issues