The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ordered manufacturers of automated vehicle systems, including components and technology, to file monthly crash reports if an SAE Level 2 advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) or SAE Levels 3-5 automated driving system (ADS) was engaged before or during a road crash.
ADS-equipped self-driving vehicles that can perform the complete driving task in limited circumstances, are not currently sold but are in limited use on public roads around the country for testing, ride sharing and goods delivery.
By mandating crash reporting, the agency “will have access to critical data that will help quickly identify safety issues that could emerge in these automated systems,” said NHTSA acting Administrator Steven Cliff. “In fact, gathering data will help instill public confidence that the federal government is closely overseeing the safety of automated vehicles.”
NHTSA stressed that its oversight is not limited to the specified crashes discussed in the order or the information to be submitted under its reporting obligations. The agency said its review and analysis will include all information and incidents relevant to any potential safety defects.
Reports will be publicly available except in limited cases when NHTSA agrees that the report contains confidential business information, such as whether the vehicle was within its operational design domain at the time of the incident, note attorneys Robert Love and Jiwan Sangha of the law firm of Borden Ladner Gervais.
In addition, NHTSA said it may take further actions on any individual crash, including sending a Special Crash Investigations team and requiring the company to provide additional information. It also may open defect investigations, as warranted.
The agency also urges the public to contact it if they think their vehicle has a safety defect not part of a current recall. Contact NHTSA online or call the agency’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236.