C_TEC Letter of Support to Senate Commerce Committee on AV Legislation

Wednesday, October 4, 2017 - 11:30am
Dear Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce thanks the Committee for its leadership on S. 1885, the
“AV START Act,” and for its recognition of the safety and mobility benefits of autonomous
Self-driving vehicles present tremendous opportunities for consumers, businesses, and
the U.S. economy by making travel safer, enhancing productivity, and increasing transportation
efficiency. However, regulatory and other barriers can impede the development of self-driving
The Chamber created the Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC) to promote the role
of technology in the economy and to advocate for rational policies that drive economic growth,
spur innovation, and create jobs. The Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) is an affiliate of the
Chamber dedicated to making the civil legal system simpler, faster, and fairer for all
C_TEC convenes an autonomous vehicle working group representing sectors across the
economy to help guide policymakers, regulators, the public at large, and the business community
on the benefits of self-driving vehicle technologies. This group represents a diverse membership,
including Original Equipment Manufacturers, software, and insurance companies among others.
We appreciate the legislation’s provisions for a single national framework for vehicle
safety and performance standards, and we urge the Senate Commerce Committee to ensure that
such a framework applies to all types of motor vehicles including commercial vehicles. We also
believe that the legislation requires effective preemption provisions; while there is always room
for improvement, we support the text currently in the legislation.
To be competitive in the global autonomous vehicle market, legislators must strike the
critical, yet challenging, balance between innovation, safety, and privacy when developing
standards for autonomous vehicles. Innovators need a single set of federal standards as opposed
to a patchwork of state laws, rules and regulations. We encourage the Committee to ensure that
the legislation’s preemption provisions protect innovation and development from inconsistent
state liability rules, potentially expansive litigation and entrepreneurial plaintiffs’
lawyers. Without effective and appropriate preemption, we risk impeding our innovators and
ceding our leadership in this industry.
As S. 1885 moves through the legislative process, the Chamber looks forward to working
with the Committee to further refine and improve the bill.
Tim Day
Senior Vice President 
C_TEC U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Lisa Rickard
U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform
cc: Members of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation