Automakers Now Required To Report Crashes Involving Driver Assistance Systems

by Aryn Plax

Jul 9, 2021

Federal safety regulators issued an order last week requiring automakers and other vehicle operators to report crashes involving vehicles with advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) or fully automated driving systems.

Specifically, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requests reports for situations in which the driving systems were on immediately before or during the crash.

The order comes after several reports of Tesla vehicle crashes and studies on the misleading marketing of driver assistance systems.

“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,” Steven Cliff, Acting Administrator of NHTSA, said in a statement.

The reporting requirements are as follows:

• Any crash involving a Level 2 ADAS-equipped vehicle or a Level 3-5 automated vehicle, that resulted in hospital-treated injuries, deaths, vehicle towing, airbag deployment, or posing risk to “vulnerable road users” like pedestrians or bicyclists, must be reported within one day of the automaker or operator learning about the crash, and the report must be updated with new information within 10 days.

• Any crash of an autonomous vehicle that involves injuries or property damage must also be reported, and the reports must be updated monthly.

Autonomous driving is classified in five levels, with each showing an increased degree of automation. Level 0 vehicles have no automation and are entirely controlled by driver input. Level 1-2 vehicles have driving assistance technology, such as lane-centering or adaptive cruise control. However, drivers must still be engage. Level 3-5 vehicles, which have yet to be released to the public, have less expectation of driver input. These vehicles are being tested on limited public roads.

Ann Carlson, Chief Counsel of NHTSA, said that crash-reporting requirements are specific to manufactures and operators of these partially or fully autonomous vehicles.

“If a company has no reportable crashes, it will still be required to file a monthly report stating so,” Carlson told Automotive News.

Several reports of Tesla vehicle crashes involve drivers who were not fully engaged while the driving assistance systems were active. The names of these driving assistance systems can fool drivers into thinking they are fully automatic, and therefore increase the risk of a crash.

Source: Automotive News