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Self-driving cars legislation could impact dealers

July 28, 2017
Critics of federal legislation on driverless vehicles, which this month advanced out of a House subcommittee, say the bill could impact state motor vehicle franchise and licensing laws.
The bill’s intent is to provide the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with authority over highly automated vehicles, to provide safety measures for such vehicles, and for other purposes.
The legislation, which has not been issued a sequential bill number, is named the Highly Automated Vehicle Testing and Deployment Act of 2017. It was passed July 19 by the House Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection and now moves to the Energy and Commerce Committee.
But a provision in the legislation, if not written correctly, could unintentionally preempt the states’ important, historic role of regulating the sales of vehicles and the delivery of vehicle services/repairs to consumers in their states. 
The committee has stated it has no interest in preempting state franchise laws, and the National Automobile Dealers Association is working with the committee to ensure that the provisions are written correctly.
The committee includes four members of the Illinois delegation: Democrats Jan Schakowsky and Bobby Rush, and Republicans Adam Kinzinger and John Shikmus. Schakowsky is the committee’s ranking member.
Public calls to the committee to preserve state vehicle franchise laws were needed by July 27. The committee’s next steps were not known at this newsletter’s deadline.