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Help us defeat the SELF DRIVE Act

In 2017, the SELF DRIVE Act sailed through the House, from the committee to a floor vote by voice, within one day–leaving advocates like the League with no opportunity to have our voices heard. We’re not alone: many groups interested in road safety want real regulation of automated vehicles, so that the technology that is developed responds to people who bike, walk, or use a wheelchair. The SELF DRIVE Act must be defeated unless it contains real safety regulation.


Since 2017, safety experts and the automotive industry have learned a lot about automated vehicles – much of it supporting a need for stronger regulation.

  • In 2018, Elaine Herzberg was killed by an automated vehicle while she was walking her bicycle across the road. Her death, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, was partly because “The system design did not include a consideration for jaywalking pedestrians.” 
  • Since 2017, there have been multiple deaths of drivers who over-relied on Tesla’s “autopilot” partial automation. Congress has conducted outreach and hearings to move toward real safety provisions, but the SELF DRIVE Act does not contain those necessary regulations. 
  • Bicyclist and pedestrian deaths reached 30-year highs in 2018, with many people pointing toward the United States lack of safety regulations as a contributing factor.
  • Research has raised concerns about racial bias in algorithms and detection technologies that may make automated vehicles less safe for Black and Brown people who are walking and biking.

Passing the SELF DRIVE Act ignores what we have learned, the dangers we have witnessed, and the continuing need for real safety regulation. It must be defeated and the United States must pursue real safety legislation that makes vehicles safer.

The League of American Bicyclists has worked with many stakeholders to identify what an automated vehicle framework should include. The SELF DRIVE Act fails to address those issues.

Most important for people who bike and walk, this bill does NOT include a Vision Test, or any other requirement to ensure automated vehicles can detect, identify and respond to pedestrians, bicyclists, or other vulnerable users of all races and ethnicities. The League is opposed to any bill that does not include such a standard. 

In discussing the 2018 Uber crash, the National Transportation Safety Board argued that there needs to be stronger controls and safeguards on AVs’ abilities to safely avoid bicyclists and pedestrians. The League is opposed to any bill that does not include strong controls and safeguards for the safety of people biking and walking.

Automated Vehicles need federal legislation to realize their full potential. But a bill cannot put Safety First if it does not address the safety of the most vulnerable people on our roadways. The SELF DRIVE Act fails to do that and deserves to be defeated.


Want more information?

You can read about the League’s advocacy regarding Automated Vehicles and bicyclists and pedestrian safety here.

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