DMV Releases Proposed Rules for Driverless Autonomous Vehicles

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) today released proposed regulations to establish a path for testing and future deployment of fully autonomous vehicles without drivers.

“California has more manufacturers testing autonomous vehicles than any other state and today’s rules continue our leadership with this emerging technology,” said California Transportation Agency Secretary Brian P. Kelly. “These rules protect public safety, promote innovation and lay out the path for future testing and deployment of driverless technology. This rulemaking is the next step in working with stakeholders to get this right.”

“These rules expand our existing autonomous vehicle testing program to include testing vehicles where no driver is present,” said DMV Director Jean Shiomoto. “This is the next step in eventually allowing driverless autonomous vehicles on California roadways.”

The department received substantial feedback from manufacturers, consumer advocates, local government, insurance companies, and other stakeholders after it released revised draft regulations for testing without a driver and the deployment of autonomous vehicles in September 2016.

The proposed regulations were published in the Office of Administrative Law’s California Regulatory Notice Register on March 10, 2017, and mark the start of a 45-day public comment period, which ends April 24, 2017.

The proposed regulations address public safety concerns while recognizing the potential of autonomous technology to improve safety, enhance mobility and encourage innovation.  The proposed regulations:

  1. Recognize that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is vested with the authority to develop Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and enforce compliance with safety and performance standards for motor vehicles. DMV is requiring certification to meeting these federal safety standards.
  2. Establish a framework for testing without a driver.
  3. Identify requirements that a manufacturer must meet in order to sell, lease, or otherwise make their vehicle available outside of a testing program.
  4. Address other key topics related to autonomous vehicle deployment, including driver licensing and responsibility, vehicle registration, and advertising of autonomous vehicles.

To gather public input on the regulations, the department will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, April 25, 2017, in Sacramento.

Autonomous Vehicle Public Hearing

California Department of Water Resources
Auditorium
1416 9th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

April 25, 2017
10 a.m.

Written comments may be submitted to: LADRegulations@dmv.ca.gov until April 24, 2017.  Written and verbal comments will be accepted at the public hearing.

After the public hearing, the DMV will complete the remaining steps in the formal rulemaking process and deliver the final regulations to the Office of Administrative Law for approval.  The regulations are anticipated to be completed by the end of the year.

SB 1298 (Chapter 570; Statutes of 2012) requires the DMV to create regulations that cover both the testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles. The regulations to test autonomous vehicles with a driver have been in effect since September 2014.  Currently, 27 manufacturers hold an autonomous vehicle test permit.

The proposed autonomous vehicle driverless testing and deployment regulations and hearing notice are available on the DMV Autonomous Vehicles webpage at:

https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/vr/autonomous/auto

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State Transportation and Safety Agencies Warn that Many At-risk Airbag Inflators Remain on Cars in California

California State departments that oversee vehicle and driver safety are warning that owners of tens of thousands of vehicles, particularly Hondas and Acuras, may not have received or have overlooked the recall notices urging replacement of potentially deadly Takata airbag inflators.  Recall repairs are free of charge to all vehicle owners.

The California Office of Traffic Safety, California Highway Patrol, California Department of Motor Vehicles and Bureau of Automotive Repair are working together to urge Californians who own certain 2001-2003 Honda and Acura vehicles to immediately take their cars to an authorized dealer for repair of potentially deadly Takata airbag inflators.

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Recall notices have already been sent to registered owners of affected vehicles who have not yet taken action on the required recall repair. These vehicles are at high risk of an airbag inflator rupture. When a recalled airbag inflator ruptures, pieces of metal could shoot through the airbag cushion and hit the driver or passengers, resulting in serious injuries or death.

While all areas of the state are affected, certain regions have the greatest concentrations of recalled vehicles with owners who have not been heard from.  These include east and south Bay Area regions, northern Monterey County, the Central Valley, northern and central Los Angeles County, western Riverside and San Bernardino counties, and San Diego County along the border.  However, not being in one of these areas does not mean your vehicle’s airbag is safe.

The following are the 2001-2003 Honda/Acura vehicles that may be equipped with recalled Takata driver airbag inflators, and are the subject of this statewide call to action:

  • 2001-2002 Honda Accord
  • 2001-2002 Honda Civic
  • 2002 Honda CR-V
  • 2002 Honda Odyssey
  • 2003 Honda Pilot
  • 2002-2003 Acura 3.2TL
  • 2003 Acura 3.2CL

Honda and Acura owners should check for recalls by locating their vehicle identification number (VIN) – found in the top left corner of the vehicle’s dashboard through the windshield – and enter the number into the VIN check on www.recalls.honda.com, www.recalls.acura.com or www.safercar.gov.

Honda/Acura urges affected drivers to immediately call 1-888-234-2138 for repair information. The U.S. Department of Transportation recommends that these vehicles only be driven to an authorized dealer in order to have the Takata airbag inflators replaced as quickly as possible. To search for an authorized dealer, consumers can visit www.recalls.honda.com or www.recalls.acura.com depending on the make of their vehicle.

Consumers can also find answers to general questions about the Takata airbag inflator recalls, including about the higher risk inflators in these vehicles, at the following site: http://hondaairbaginfo.com/faq/. Any concerned customer can also contact Honda/Acura’s Automobile Customer Service at 888-234-2138.

The replacement of the Takata airbag inflator is free of charge for all customers. Customers are not obligated to have unrelated maintenance or other vehicle issues fixed at the same time as the recall repair. Honda/Acura will provide a loaner car, if necessary, while a customer’s car is being repaired and a Honda/Acura dealer can also arrange to tow a vehicle to and from the desired location at no cost.

CA DMV Seeks Public Comment on New Rules for Autonomous Vehicles

Sacramento – Continuing progress toward operation of fully autonomous vehicles on California roads, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) released revised draft regulations for public comment.   These draft rules are intended to encourage public dialogue and gather input prior to the DMV formally submitting the regulations for consideration and adoption.

The recently released Federal Automated Vehicles Policy sets a direction for addressing vehicle safety at the federal level, and California’s revised draft regulations take this new policy into account and focus on rules for California public roads,  including testing requirements, enforcement of traffic laws, driver licensing, and vehicle registration.

In addition to carefully reviewing all public feedback on previous draft regulations, the DMV actively collaborated with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators on the state’s role in regulating autonomous vehicles.

The revised draft regulations continue to ensure that the safety of the motoring public remains the DMV’s top priority and recognizes the potential of autonomous technology to improve safety, enhance mobility and encourage innovation.  Some highlights include:

  1. Prior to testing or deploying an autonomous vehicle, manufactures will certify that they meet NHTSA vehicle performance guidance for automated vehicles, which uses a 15-point safety assessment.
  2. A regulatory framework for driverless vehicles that provides a path for fully autonomous vehicles to first be tested and operated on California roads.
  3. A licensed driver is required for vehicles capable of autonomous operation in some instances, but a human driver must be ready to take control when requested by the autonomous system, these are also known as “SAE Level 3 vehicles.”
  4. Prohibits the advertisement of lower levels of automated systems, where the human driver is still responsible for monitoring or control of the vehicle, as “autonomous”, “self-driving” or other similar terms.

These revised draft regulations represent the next step in the process to encourage public dialogue and collect feedback prior to the DMV formally submitting the regulations for consideration and adoption. To gather additional public input on the proposed changes, the Department is holding a public workshop Wednesday, October 19 in Sacramento.  In addition, representatives from NHTSA will discuss the recently released Federal Automated Vehicles Policy.  The DMV invites all interested parties to attend the upcoming public workshop.

Autonomous Vehicle Public Workshop

Wednesday, October 19, 2016
9:30 a.m.
California State Capitol
Senate Committee Room 4203
1315 10th St, Sacramento, CA 95814

Written comments may be submitted to: LADRegulations@dmv.ca.gov.  The event will also be open to credentialed media.

The revised draft autonomous vehicle deployment regulations and workshop notice are available on the DMV Autonomous Vehicles webpage at: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/vr/autonomous/auto.

CA welcomes Federal Automated Vehicle Policy

California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian P. Kelly issued this statement on Federal Automated Vehicle Policy:

“The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the State of California share the common objective of seeing driverless vehicle technology developed, tested and deployed safely and efficiently on our public streets and roads.  NHTSA’s policy guidance unveiled today is a leap forward in this process, enabling California to advance vehicle safety, innovation and sustainability in the Golden State.  With more than 3,200 traffic-related fatalities and more than 90% of accidents attributed to human error in this state, it is time to unleash the promise of autonomous vehicles to improve public safety. Within the next 30 days, the Department of Motor Vehicles will host a public workshop to gather input from industry, consumer and public interest groups, and the public on revised draft state regulations for the testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles in California.”

The California Department of Motor Vehicles also issued a statement, below:

“The DMV welcomes the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) release of the Federal Automated Vehicle Policy. The DMV worked closely with NHTSA and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) on the model state policy contained within the document. The DMV supports NHTSA’s goal of creating a consistent approach and national framework for the testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles.

The DMV is currently reviewing NHTSA’s Federal Automated Vehicle Policy and is planning to release revised draft California regulations in the coming weeks. The department will hold a public workshop to solicit input on those revised draft regulations on October 19, 2016.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2016
9:30 a.m.
Capitol Room 4203
1315 10th St, Sacramento, CA 95814

 Read the Federal Automated Vehicle Policy here: www.transportation.gov/av

For more information on the California DMV’s autonomous vehicle regulations, visit: https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/vr/autonomous/bkgd

 

CalSTA goes on a reality ride to highlight the dangers of distracted driving

On Tuesday, California Highway Patrol Captain Josh Ehlers and Department of Motor Vehicles Director Jean Shiomoto participated in Allstate’s Reality Rides event along with Assembly Member Jim Frazier to encourage drivers to practice safe driving habits.

Distracted driving results in over 3,000 deaths and causes over 400,000 injuries each year. It is the number one cause of death in Americans between the ages of 11 and 27. DMV researchers have found that drivers with multiple cell phone violations on their records experience almost twice as many subsequent crashes as drivers with no violations. Research has also shown that receiving a text or phone call, even if you do not answer or look at the phone, can be a significant distraction while driving.

CHP Captain Josh Elhers asked that drivers with more experience lead by example for teenagers and inexperienced drivers by putting away their phones and practicing safe driving behaviors behind the wheel.

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DMV Director Jean Shiomoto shared the important statistics on the dangers of distracted driving and reminded the community that DMV is committed to educating the public on these dangers through their handbooks and Fast Facts. “Distracted driving could put you, and anyone you know, in danger,” Shiomoto said.

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Allstate is touring the country with its distracted driving simulator with the goal of preventing avoidable collisions and building awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.  The stationary car is equipped with virtual-reality technology that displays a responsive animated environment on a LED television embedded in the windshield.  Using the steering wheel, gas and brake pedals, participants attempted to drive while they tried to text.


DMV’s Deputy Director of Communications, Jessica Gonzalez went on a test drive of the simulator to show us just how dangerous distracted driving can be. After the simulation was over, she received an example citation which showed all the infractions she had committed. Participants also took a pledge to “X the Text” and commit to putting away their phone while behind the wheel.

In addition to the simulator, DMV and CHP staff were on hand at informational booths to hand out materials on safe driving and answer questions from the community.

September is California Pedestrian Safety Month

The California State Senate along with the Office of Traffic Safety have declared September “Pedestrian Safety Month” to raise awareness and combat the rising number of pedestrian fatalities in our state.

California has seen a sharp rise in pedestrian fatalities over the last 10 years, 815 pedestrians were killed in 2015 alone according to the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) shows pedestrians and bicyclists account for nearly 30 percent of roadway deaths in California and 7,000 have died in the last 10 years. Our pedestrian fatality rate is almost 70 percent higher than other states, according to SWITRS. In addition, almost 12,000 pedestrians are seriously injured each year.

As part of our continuing efforts to address the issue, the Office of Traffic Safety has launched a statewide campaign to promote safe practices by motorists and pedestrians to reduce these high numbers.

 

The campaign features characters, clad in body armor made from car parts, that represent everyday pedestrians. These characters remind everyone that in real life, pedestrians don’t have armor and always lose when hit by a vehicle, no matter who is at fault.

Ped Safety BillboardCampaign billboard

The campaign also reminds Californians of safety tips for both drivers and pedestrians:

Ped Safety BookmarkCampaign bookmark

TIPS FOR DRIVERS:

  • The most dangerous driving behaviors around pedestrians: speeding, distractions (especially cell phones), and failure to yield. Slow down, put down the phone, and look around you.
  • Look out for pedestrians, especially in hard-to-see conditions such as at night or in bad weather.
  • Any pedestrian at a crosswalk or intersection, marked or unmarked, has the right of way. When you see them at the corner, slow and stop.
  • Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or entering a crosswalk where pedestrians are likely to be.
  • Stop at the crosswalk stop line to give drivers in other lanes an opportunity to see and yield to the pedestrians, too.
  • Be cautious when backing up – pedestrians, especially young children, can move across your path.

TIPS FOR PEDESTRIANS:

  • The most dangerous behaviors of pedestrians near roadways: jay walking, distractions (especially cell phones), and assuming you can be seen.
  • Cross at crosswalks or intersections, obey signs and signals.
  • Walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible if there is no sidewalk.
  • Stop staring at the phone. This is not the time to be texting or talking on a cell phone.
  • Pay attention to the traffic moving around you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach. Never assume a driver sees you.
  • Wear bright clothing during the day and reflective materials (or use a flashlight) at night. Drivers usually can’t see you on a dark street until they are about 100 feet from you.
  • Look left-right-left before crossing a street.

This campaign is part of a concentrated effort by the State Transportation Agency and our departments to address the issue of pedestrian fatalities head on as we continue to promote walking as a greener alternative to driving.

As part of this effort, Caltrans is developing the first-ever California State Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan (CSBPP), which will be a visionary and comprehensive policy plan to support active modes of transportation aimed at improving safety and access for everyone across all transportation modes, particularly bicycle and pedestrian. The plan is anticipated to be complete by February of next year.

In addition, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is emphasizing safe walking through its international award-winning California Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Enforcement and Education Project, and provides educational resources on their website.

For more information and resources on pedestrian safety:

NHTSA: http://www.nhtsa.gov/nhtsa/everyoneisapedestrian/index.html

CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/features/pedestriansafety/

Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center:  http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/community/tips_pedestrian.cfm

Safe Kids: https://www.safekids.org/walkingsafelytips

Safe Routes to School: http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/