June 19, 2024

IIHS and senators call on NHTSA to address automated driver assistance technologies

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently published a bold article on its website, asserting its role as a key player in regulating vehicle safety. IIHS Senior Research Scientist David Kidd urged the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to take more decisive actions in ensuring the safe use of semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles.

Kidd emphasized the risks associated with the misuse of automated driver assistance technologies, aligning with concerns raised by six U.S. senators in a recent letter to NHTSA. He highlighted the need for improved data collection on crashes involving automation technologies to accurately assess their safety.

Despite the growing presence of vehicles equipped with advanced autonomous features, there is a lack of standardized safety regulations. Drivers often overestimate the capabilities of their vehicles’ automation systems, leading to potential risks on the road. Kidd also criticized automakers for their misleading marketing strategies and ambiguous feature names.

Notably, Kidd called out leading automated test fleets like Cruise and Waymo for their lack of transparency in crash data reporting. He specifically pointed to instances where these companies failed to detect pedestrians, emphasizing the need for greater accountability in the deployment of autonomous vehicles.

While the IIHS has developed rigorous testing programs for evaluating new vehicles’ ADAS systems, it lacks the regulatory authority to enforce its recommendations. However, Kidd’s compelling arguments could influence NHTSA to take decisive action in enhancing automated systems’ safety standards.

In conclusion, Kidd urged NHTSA to prioritize its mission of saving lives and preventing injuries by closely monitoring the impact of automated technologies on road safety. It is imperative for regulatory agencies to address the evolving challenges posed by the increasing integration of automation in vehicles.


1. What role does the IIHS play in promoting vehicle safety?

The IIHS conducts research and develops testing programs to assess the effectiveness of advanced driver assistance systems in vehicles.

2. How can drivers ensure safe usage of semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles?

Drivers should familiarize themselves with the limitations of automation technologies and avoid misinterpreting their vehicles’ capabilities.

3. What challenges do regulatory agencies face in regulating automated driver assistance technologies?

Regulatory agencies like NHTSA struggle to establish standardized safety regulations for rapidly evolving automation technologies in vehicles.

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