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National Council on Disability Commends NHTSA Recommendations on Autonomous Vehicles

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Urges Continued Commitment to Universal Design in Research, Development and Regulation

The National Council on Disability (NCD) commends the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) for its inclusion of people with disabilities in discussions leading to the release of its “Federal Autonomous Vehicle Policy” guidance on Tuesday, September 20.

In its guidance, NHTSA acknowledged the importance of the disability community when it wrote, “…this Policy is the product of significant input from stakeholders across the spectrum of voices from the traveling public, traffic safety professionals, researchers, industry, government, the disabled community and others.”

Of specific interest to the Council, NHTSA not only involved stakeholders with disabilities from the beginning of their inquiry, they also echoed recommendations made by NCD in their 2015 report “Self Driving Cars: Mapping Access to a Technology Revolution” which urged NHTSA not to impose limitations on people with disabilities through unnecessary licensure requirements to the extent possible, and to base any limitations on actual risk rather than unsubstantiated fears.

“NCD is pleased that NHTSA has included disabled stakeholders from the earliest stages of the process and that several of NCD’s recommendations made in 2015 were adopted,” said NCD Chair Clyde Terry. “We are encouraged by NHTSA’s positive first steps and urge them to make good on their commitment to universal design for autonomous vehicles in their next version of this policy so millions of disabled people who can’t currently drive and have, until now, been left at the curb, will be able to utilize this technology to the fullest extent possible in keeping with the ADA’s goal of full participation in society.”

As autonomous vehicle research and development, as well as policymaking moves forward, NCD will continue to collaborate with and advise NHTSA, Congress, and other federal partners to ensure that universal design and accessibility remain central and guiding themes in autonomous vehicles and other technological advances.

Posted: September 22, 2016

An official website of the National Council on Disability