Senator Jay Rockefeller today said exciting advances in automobile technology--including self-driving vehicles and cars connected to the Internet--must be made with Americans' safety at the forefront.
"There is so much to be excited about as automobile technology continues to develop," Rockefeller said. "In many ways, technology an make our roads safer from tragedies, but there are risks to consider and important questions we need to ask to pave the way for these advances."
Rockefeller is chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which today held a hearing titled "The Road Ahead: Advanced Vehicle Technology and its Implications." Rockefeller called the hearing to explore the safety benefits, potential risks and policy implications from the development and implementation of advanced vehicle technologies. These include advanced driver assistance systems such as adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping systems, partially and fully self-driving vehicles, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, as well as communications and entertainment devices for drivers.
"We have seen so much change in the automobile, and at such a rapid clip. It is exciting and promising, but it requires rigorous, attentive and knowledgeable oversight," Rockefeller said. "If the automobile industry delivers as promised, the technologies we discussed today have the potential to revolutionize transportation and bring about dramatic improvements in safety. That's good for America, and it's good for West Virginia."
Rockefeller has a long history of fighting to make roads and highways safer for West Virginia's and America's families. Rockefeller's recent contributions to improving road and highway safety include:
-Successfully fighting for the 2012 surface transportation bill, which included grant programs to address long-standing and emerging driving issues such as
distracted driving; increased penalties for auto manufacturers that mislead or intentionally fail to report defects; and improved the enforcement of truck and bus safety.
-Authoring the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010, a bill to improve automobile safety standards, protect drivers and bolster the National Highway Safety Administration's (NHTSA) resources, authority and expertise.
-Authoring the Distracted Driving Prevention Act of 2009, a bill to keep distracted drivers off the road by providing grants to states that enact laws to prohibit texting and hand-held cell phone use will driving.