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The government looks to speed up the production and safety of self-driving cars.

Talia Avakian
September 20, 2016

As self-driving vehicles become a reality on the road, the federal government is catching up.

Under a new policy released by the Department of Transportation on Tuesday, manufacturers creating self-driving vehicles will be required to address a 15-point safety assessment.

The assessment covers items like data recording and sharing to object and event detection and response.

The policy also incudes a set of model regulations for states, recommending that each state identify a lead agency responsible for testing self-driving cars. In addition, the Department of Transportation is considering new regulatory tools including a pre-market approval process that would either join or replace the current self-certification system available to manufacturers.

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The manufacturing and selling of self-driving vehicles could be prohibited until they are tested and approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), or for manufacturers to certify compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and have the NHTSA test out any features not covered in the safety standards.

Manufacturers may also be required to provide documentation on safety-related defects in its vehicles, as well as reports regarding possible causes and consequences of crashes when testing vehicles.

The policy calls for a cease-and-desist authority enabling the government to immediately restrict or prohibit vehicles with serious safety risks.

Although most of the policy is effective immediately, the Department of Transportation will be gathering public feedback through a 60-day comment period, public workshops, and through expert reviews.

Talia Avakian is a digital reporter at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @TaliaAvak.

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