D.O.T. Drives Autonomous Guidance
Sep 28, 2016

AUTOMATED VEHICLE GUIDANCE

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released its long-awaited Vehicle Performance Guidance for Automated Vehicles that will govern the development and production of vehicles that can operate without human intervention. The guidance comes as autonomous car makers, safety experts, and insurance analysts continue to peer in the future of driving in the United States. And the rest of the world is watching.

FRONT-END WORK

Under the guidance, autonomous carmakers will be asked to provide federal regulators with documentation and information covering 15 specific topics, such as systems that detect objects on the road, driver displays, cybersecurity measures, and the testing used to develop the drive system before manufacturing begins. This guidance envisions greater transparency, as the DOT works with manufacturers to ensure that safety is appropriately addressed at the front-end of development. This federal pre-assembly involvement reverses a 50-year relationship between regulators and automakers. Typically, federal regulators were left to enforce safety standards once the cars are sold to customers.

I'VE GOT A FAST CAR

That being said, the rulemaking agency has agreed to expedite responses to requests for exemptions from existing standards to accommodate designs for autonomous vehicles to six months. And, the DOT will expedite to 60 days requests for interpretation of existing regulations and statutes as they apply to autonomous vehicles.

AT THE INTERSECTION OF STATE AND FED

Lastly, under the new framework, states will continue to handle the "human" aspects of operating a vehicle, such as licensing drivers, registering vehicles, and regulating insurance requirements. The guidance will be updated annually, if needed, by DOT based on public comment, industry feedback and real-world experiences.

MEDICARE COMPLIANCE

PART D

Last week, Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI) introduced bipartisan legislation to improve the Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) statute and clarify how it applies to the Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) program. The measure, H.R. 6120, known as the Secondary Payer Advancement, Rationalization, and Clarification (SPARC) Act, would replace ambiguous and uncertain Part D MSP requirements with "clear and sensible" rules that govern the resolution of insured claims involving Part D insurance plans.

SMART 2.0

The SPARC Act continues the efforts of Representatives Murphy and Kind to improve the MSP statute by focusing this time on the Medicare Part D Program. In 2012, Murphy and Kind worked to successfully pass H.R. 1845, The Strengthening Medicare and Repaying Taxpayer (SMART) Act, a measure that streamlined the process of settling claims and providing funds to Medicare beneficiaries. Your authors at The Way are proud to be among the leading industry voices on Capitol Hill for MSP reform. We will continue to report on these developments from the frontlines.

MAKING OUR WAY AROUND THE COUNTRY

THE STATE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION

On October 5th, the U.S. Department of Labor, in conjunction with the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), will unveil two new reports that address recent trends in state workers' compensation systems and the effect these trends have on workers, employers and communities. These reports will feature data from NASI's latest data on benefits, coverage, and costs in workers' compensation. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez is hosting a public forum to discuss these reports. We will be tuned in.

CHECKS AND BALANCES

Twenty-one states joined a lawsuit last week seeking to overturn a federal regulation designed to qualify millions of Americans for overtime pay starting this December. The lead plaintiffs, attorneys general in Texas and Nevada, allege the Labor Department overtime rule violates the U.S. Constitution and exceeds congressional authority. The case is now pending in federal district court in Sherman, Texas. This suit follows judicial action last week where a controversial OSHA rule governing the storage and sale of anhydrous ammonia was been struck down by an appeals court in Washington, D.C. Midwestern lawmakers, speaking on behalf of farmers and ranchers, lauded the D.C. court's ruling that now suspends the "fertilizer" rule until OSHA proceeds with full notice and comment procedures.

HUNTING CYBER CRIME IN OCTOBER

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. The DHS campaign seeks to raise awareness about cybersecurity, provide the public and private sector with tools and resources needed to stay safe online, and increase the resiliency of the Nation in the event of a cyber incident. The announcement comes as details of one of the world's largest data breaches continue to emerge.

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