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Updated HAV legislation won't impact state motor vehicle laws

August 11, 2017
The House Energy and Commerce Committee on July 27 introduced updated legislation that clarified Congress’ intent not to jeopardize state motor vehicle franchise and licensing laws as it seeks to fast-track the deployment of highly automated vehicles (HAVs).
The updated legislation was approved by the full committee during a markup of a number of bills intended establish federal guidelines for vehicles with advanced design features that can be operated without human intervention.
Days earlier, the Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a draft bill that regulates self-driving vehicles and seeks to prevent a patchwork that would compel automakers to build different vehicles for different states. 
However, the early draft bill’s federal preemption language could have unintentionally preempted a variety of state-based motor vehicle franchise and licensing laws related to such things as driving education and training, safety and emissions inspections, traffic rules, and how motor vehicles are sold, serviced, registered, insured, and advertised.
During the markup a bipartisan consensus emerged within the Committee that there was no intent to preempt a wide swath of important state laws, including state motor vehicle franchise and licensing laws.
The chairman of the NADA praised the committee’s efforts to address this issue and have Congress’ intent reflected accurately in the legislation.
"State motor vehicle franchise and licensing laws exist to ensure that all vehicles certified as safe under federal rules continue to be used, maintained, and operated safely long after they are shipped from the factory," said NADA Chairman Mark Scarpelli, a Chevrolet and Kia franchisee in Antioch.
 
"Preempting these laws wouldn’t help speed the deployment of HAVs, but it could undermine the important state protections these laws offer, so we’re pleased the committee has gotten this right." 
 
Scarpelli added that NADA will continue working with members on both sides of the aisle in the House and Senate to make sure the specific wording of any preemption provision of any HAV legislation does not sweep too broadly.
 
 

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