Self-Driving Cars the Focus of Latest Report from the National Council on Disability

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Concord, NH – On Monday, November 2, 2015, the National Council on Disability (NCD)—an independent federal agency that advises the President, Congress and other federal agencies on disability policy—will release “Self Driving Cars: Mapping Access to a Technology Revolution” at its quarterly meeting in Concord, NH with a brief summary of the report’s findings and recommendations.

The new report maps out the emerging revolution in transportation technology and explores the ways these advances have the potential to increase independence for people with disabilities, along with an examination of the various roadblocks that may be encountered en route to that destination. The report evaluates current technology, regulatory considerations, and obstacles both scientific and political; and provides recommendations for preventing or eliminating barriers, including model legislative language.

DATE: Monday, November 2
TIME: 11 am – 11:30 am ET
LOCATION: Capitol Center for the Arts, Governors Hall, 44 South Main Street, Concord, NH 03301

“Adopting the recommendations offered by NCD will ensure that people with disabilities are not left at the side of the road as self-driving technology is developed and advanced,” said Clyde Terry, NCD Chair. “All Americans, including people with disabilities, should have an equal opportunity to benefit from and realize the freedom that fully autonomous vehicles promise to provide.”

“The Council looks forward to working with the Administration, Congress, automobile manufacturers and innovators in the tech industry to ensure that people with disabilities have a role in both helping develop and to realize the maximum benefits possible from these exciting and emerging advances,” added Janice Lehrer-Stein, NCD Councilmember who spearheaded the report.

Key recommendations of the report include:

  • Funding proposals for the research or development of autonomous vehicles should include accessibility requirements for people with disabilities, including compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.
  • Licensing at the state level should include national guidelines developed by the United States Department of Transportation. These should not impose undue or unnecessary limits on people with disabilities.
  • Congress should pass legislation requiring full disability access for all types of common and public use autonomous vehicles developed and informed, to a large degree, with the input and guidance of manufacturers, an appropriate disability advisory committee, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  • Congress should expressly forbid discrimination on the basis of disability by states or any other government authority in licensing, and should withhold federal highway funds to states that do not comply, a practice that would parallel existing reasonable legal drinking age restrictions.

A digital copy of the report can be read or downloaded from NCD’s website online:

About the National Council on Disability (NCD): First established as an advisory Council within the Department of Education in 1978, NCD became an independent federal agency in 1984. In 1986, NCD recommended enactment of an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and drafted the first version of the bill which was introduced in the House and Senate in 1988. Since enactment of the ADA in 1990, NCD has continued to play a leading role in crafting disability policy, and advising the President, Congress and other federal agencies on disability policies, programs, and practices.