Securing America's Future Energy

SAFE Applauds Removal of Barriers for Heavy-Duty Vehicle Innovation in Department of Transportation’s Automated Vehicle (AV) Policy Guidance 3.0

Contact: Bridget Bartol | 202.461.2361 |

Washington, D.C.—The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today released “Automated Vehicles 3.0: Preparing for the Future of Transportation.” The document was developed in response to public comments, including those by SAFE, and is the first guidance that goes beyond automated cars and includes the agencies that oversee long-haul trucks, gas pipelines and highway and public transit systems.

“SAFE commends 3.0’s forward-leaning approach on automation, particularly in the heavy-duty space, the leadership of U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, and the impressive work by staff as they continue to prioritize AVs and improve upon these vital policies that encourage innovation and maintain America’s leadership,” said Robbie Diamond, President and CEO of Securing America’s Future Energy. “Autonomous driving systems and vehicles are critical technologies with the potential to spur some of the greatest improvements to society since the Industrial Revolution, and it’s equally important to understand the impacts to the American economy and workforce. The administration’s clarification of a “driver” has removed barriers to innovation in the heavy-duty space. SAFE looks forward to more closely reviewing this document, and sharing additional findings with policymakers and regulators to allow for the successful development and deployment of both heavy- and light-duty autonomous vehicles.”

The AV Policy Guidelines released today build upon the previous two iterations, but 3.0 broadens the scope to embrace the potential impact of Level 4 fully-autonomous trucks. Under previous guidance, the legality of trucks without a driver in the cab has been ambiguous, which limited industry pilots on interstates and/or across state lines. SAFE believes this update may lead to increased investment and activity in the heavy-duty automation space.

The U.S. transportation system is currently 92 percent powered by petroleum fuels. AVs are anticipated to enable a rapid shift towards alternative fuel vehicles, diversifying the transportation sector away from oil, a single, highly-volatile global commodity traded on an unfair and unfree market.

SAFE continues to advocate for a unified, clear, modernized framework from Congress to allow for a safe and speedy deployment of AVs on public roadways for both cars and commercial vehicles.

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About Securing America’s Future Energy

Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) is an action-oriented, nonpartisan organization that aims to reduce America’s dependence on oil. Near-total dependence on petroleum in the transportation sector undermines the nation’s economic and national security, and constrains U.S. foreign policy. To combat these threats, SAFE advocates for expanded domestic production of U.S. oil and gas resources, continued improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency, and transportation sector innovations including electric vehicles, natural gas trucks, and autonomous vehicles. In 2006, SAFE joined with General P.X. Kelley (Ret.), 28th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President, and CEO of FedEx Corporation, to form the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a group of business and former military leaders committed to reducing the United States’ dependence on oil. Today, the ESLC is co-chaired by Frederick W. Smith and General James T. Conway (Ret), 34th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.

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