Senate MAC Introduction - NHTSA grants first AV Exemption

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2/9/2020 6:46:12 AM
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Senate MAC Introduction - NHTSA grants first AV Exemption





Your Weekly Biker Bulletin from Inside the Beltway

Your Motorcycle Riders Foundation team in Washington, D.C. is pleased to provide our members with the latest information and updates on issues that impact the freedom and safety of American street motorcyclists. Count on your MRF to keep you informed about a range of matters that are critical to the advancement of motorcycling and its associated lifestyle. Published weekly when the U.S. Congress is in session.



February 7, 2020

Senators Johnson, Peters Introduce Motorcyclist Advisory Council Reauthorization Act

Monday evening Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced S. 3249, the Senate’s version of the Motorcyclist Advisory Council Reauthorization Act. This is the Senate companion bill to House bill, H.R. 5234, introduced in November by Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Harley Rouda (D-CA), and Troy Balderson (R-OH).

The Motorcyclist Advisory Council (MAC) was first established by Congress in 2005 and reauthorized in the FAST Act in 2015. The MAC is responsible for providing advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concerning infrastructure issues related to motorcyclist safety, including barrier design, road design, construction, and maintenance practices, and the architecture and implementation of intelligent transportation system technologies. One of the fundamental principles of this legislation is the clarification of the MAC membership.

The MRF applauds Senator Johnson and Senator Peters for their effort to implement common-sense changes to the Motorcyclist Advisory Council. The MRF would also like to thank our partners at Harley-Davidson, the American Motorcyclist Association and ABATE of Wisconsin for their work on getting this bill introduced.

Click here to learn more about the MAC bill, read quotes and view the MRF’s Press Release  

  • If you have already responded to both the House and Senate Calls to Action (CTA) for the Motorcyclist Advisory Council, we thank you for your participation. 
  • If you missed our CTA on the House version two weeks ago, you can ask your U.S. House of Representative to cosponsor H.R. 5234 by clicking here. The House version currently has nine cosponsors and we would like to raise the profile of this issue.
  • When you complete the CTA for H.R. 5234, we encourage you to participate in our Call to Action to urge your Senators to cosponsor S. 3249 and you can take action here.




Regulatory Update: NHTSA grants first AV exemption
Yesterday, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) approved a regulatory exemption for the fully autonomous R2, Nuro’s second-generation vehicle. Nuro is the first company to receive an exemption from the Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), which requires cars to have a long list of safety features including airbags and seat belts.





As we have reported in the past, the Department of Transportation currently does not have any federal regulations about the deployment of autonomous vehicles (AV) and have put out four separate AV Guidances that reiterates their position.  Currently, there are no federal laws or regulations about the deployment of AV on our nation’s roads yet we remain optimistic that Congress will address the issue soon.

"Since this is a low-speed self-driving delivery vehicle, certain features that the department traditionally required -- such as mirrors and windshield for vehicles carrying drivers -- no longer make sense," said Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in a statement. The R2 is classified as a low-speed vehicle so it doesn't have to meet the same safety requirements as cars and SUVs. Low-speed vehicles can only go as fast as 25 miles per hour and must not weigh more than 2,500 pounds.

Nuro is required to report any crash-related information to the federal government and to report general information about the R2's operation periodically. A spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation declined to offer additional details on what other data must be provided.

The MRF will continue to diligently monitor any AV legislation or regulations in Washington, D.C.  While we are not opposed to AV’s, we need to ensure any AV vehicle whether it be a mac truck, passenger vehicle or a small delivery vehicle be able to detect and respond to motorcycles appropriately. If you would like to see the Nuro R2 delivery vehicle that received this exemption, you can check it out on their website here.

This news of the NHTSA exemption comes on the heels of House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce of the Committee on Energy and Commerce’s hearing on "Autonomous Vehicles: Promises and Challenges of Evolving Automotive Technologies" scheduled for Tuesday at 10:00 am.  Your MRF will be there and will report back to you on any news on AV’s on Capitol Hill.



Standing H.Res. 255 Update:
We are currently at 133 cosponsors from 44 states and one territory for H. Res 255, the motorcycle profiling resolution. We had an increase of eight new cosponsors since our call to action a few weeks ago. We added two members from Michigan, as well as one each from Colorado, Florida,  Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Your letters are making a difference!  If you haven’t yet done the call to action, click here and take two minutes out of your day to contact Congress about this topic.







About Motorcycle Riders Foundation
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders. The MRF is chiefly concerned with issues at the national and international levels that impact the freedom and safety of American street motorcyclists. The MRF is committed to being a national advocate for the advancement of motorcycling and its associated lifestyle and works in conjunction with its partners to help educate elected officials and policymakers in Washington and beyond.

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