DETROIT — The U.S. government’s highway safety agency has ordered automakers to report any crashes involving fully autonomous vehicles or partially automated driver assist systems.
The move Tuesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates the agency is taking a tougher stance on automated vehicle safety than in the past. It’s been reluctant to issue any regulations of the new technology for fear of hampering adoption of the potentially life-saving technology.
The order requires vehicle and equipment manufacturers and operators to report crashes on public roads involving fully autonomous vehicles, or those in which driver assist systems were operating immediately before or during a crash.
“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,” NHTSA Acting Administrator Steven Cliff said in a statement.
The agency says it will look for potential safety defects, and the information could cause it to send out a crash investigation team or open a defect investigation.