Some Clarity on FMVSS Application to Self-Driving Vehicles

It’s still anyone’s guess when self-driving cars will become commonplace. Elon Musk has stated that Tesla will produce an autonomous car in two years. While that prediction is perhaps overly optimistic, McKinsey & Company predicts mass adoption of self-driving vehicles by 2030. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers predicts that by 2040 up to 75% of vehicles on the road will be autonomous.

When self-driving cars are adopted, they will affect a large number of professions. Personal injury lawyers, auto-body workers, chiropractors, towing companies, and insurance salespeople will all be impacted.

In a recent letter to Google, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) responded to a November 12, 2015 request from Google for interpretation of a number of provisions of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSSs). The letter is dense. There are two things that I want to focus on. Continue reading