S. 1885 would clarify the federal role in regulating motor vehicles that can drive without a person controlling the vehicle. Those vehicles are defined in the bill as Highly Automated Vehicles (HAVs). The bill would require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to complete several rulemakings and establish two advisory councils on HAV technology and consumer education. The bill also would require NHTSA and the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center) within the Department of Transportation (DOT) to complete several studies on the issues surrounding the use of HAVs.
CBO estimates that implementing the legislation would cost $22 million over the 2018-2022 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts.
Enacting S. 1885 would increase revenues from civil penalties; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, CBO estimates that those increases would total less than $500,000 over the 2018-2027 period. Enacting the bill would not affect direct spending.
CBO estimates that enacting S. 1885 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
S. 1885 would impose an intergovernmental mandate, as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA), by preempting the authority of state and local governments to regulate the design, construction, and performance aspects of HAVs, unless such regulations are identical to federal regulations. The bill also would preempt any state regulation governing operator’s licenses for HAVs that discriminates on the basis of disability. Although it would limit the application of state and local laws and regulations, the bill would impose no duty on state or local governments that would result in additional spending or a loss of revenues.
S. 1885 would impose private-sector mandates as defined in UMRA on manufacturers of automobiles. Based on information about motor vehicle sales in the United States and information about current business practices from industry sources, CBO estimates that the cost of complying with those mandates would exceed the annual threshold established in UMRA ($156 million in 2017, adjusted annually for inflation).