A Primer on Regulations and Liability Considerations for HAV’s

Potential regulations surrounding the development, testing and commercial launch of Highly Automated Vehicles and possible liability exposure for the manufacturing and operation of Highly Automated Vehicles are fluid and changing areas, that will continue to evolve over the next several years.

The first half of this course reviews where regulations are at the state and federal levels, what actions are currently under consideration, how current regulations will need to change to accommodate HAV’s, and how and when new regulations might be implemented. The second half covers both common law and strict liability and how it may apply to HAV’s. It discusses the question of “Who is the driver?”, and how common law negligence, no fault liability and strict liability will impact human owner/operators, and manufacturers of HAV’s.

What Will You Learn

By participating in this course, you will be able to:
  • Explain state action regarding HAV regulation and how these actions are influenced by NHTSA’s model state policy
  • Discuss NHTSA’s guidance documents on HAV’s and explain how this guidance has evolved over the last several years
  • Describe the current Federal regulations that may need to change to accommodate HAV’s
  • Assess the current state of Federal regulatory action, including the current NPRM for V2V Communications
  • Explain the current Federal legislative actions, where they stand, and when they might be implemented
  • Discuss voluntary industry actions related to the implementation of autonomous emergency braking into vehicles
  • Describe changes to the NCAP and IIHS rating systems relative to driver assistance technologies
  • Explain the LDW, FCW and AEB test development projects underway at NHTSA and IIHS
  • Describe common law tort liability and explain the elements

Is This Course For You

This course is designed for managerial and technical professionals who are involved either directly or indirectly involved in HAV development. It is not recommended for legal professionals as the material is likely too basic given their specialized training.

Materials Provided

This data is not available at this time

Course Requirements

This data is not available at this time


1. SAE Levels of Automation
2. State Actions
  • Legislation
  • Executive orders
  • On road testing of highly automated vehicles
3. FMVSS Certification Challenges
  • Review of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for Automated Vehicles – Volpe
  • NHTSA Letters of interpretation
4. Federal policy actions
  • Federal Automated Vehicles Policy
  • Automated Driving Systems 2.0: A Vision for Safety
  • Automated Vehicles 3.0: Preparing for the Future of Transportation
5. Federal Administrative Rulemaking
  • Federal V2V rulemaking
  • Behavioral Competencies – Performance Test exercise
  • Principles for Bipartisan Legislation on Self-Driving Vehicles
A. Federal legislation
  • How a bill becomes a law
B. US House actions
  • Autonomous Vehicle Privacy Protection Act of 2015
  • Highly Automated Vehicle Testing and Deployment Act of 2017
  • H.R.3388 - SELF DRIVE Act – July 25, 2017
  • H.R.3401 - July 28, 2017
  • H.R.3404 - July 28, 2017
  • H.R.3405 – MORE Act - July 28, 2017
  • H.R.3406 – PAVE Act - July 28, 2017
  • H.R.3407 – July 28, 2017
  • H.R.3407 – EXEMPT Act - July 28, 2017
  • H.R.3411 – July 28, 2017
  • H.R.3412 – LEAD'R Act - July 28, 2017
  • H.R.3413 – ACCESS Act - July 28, 2017
  • H.R.3414 – July 28, 2017
  • H.R.3416 – July 28, 2017
  • H.R.3430 – SHARES Act - July 28, 2017
C. Senate actions
  • S.1885 - AV START Act – September 28, 2017
6. Voluntary Industry actions
  • NHTSA, IIHS & 10 OEM’s - Announcement regarding AEB in all vehicles
  • NHTSA, IIHS & 20 OEM’s announcement regarding AEB in all vehicles
    • AEB standard in all vehicles by September 1, 2022
7. New Car Assessment changes
A. NCAP 5-star rating
  • Blind spot warning
  • Lane departure prevention
  • Crash imminent braking
  • Dynamic brake support
  • Pedestrian detection (front and rear)
B. IIHS Top safety pick
  • Automatic Emergency Braking
8. Test development research (minimum performance standards)
  • IIHS
Afternoon session - Liability
1. Court structure
  • Federal circuits
    • B Circuit (District) courts
  • Appellate courts
  • Supreme courts
2. No fault liability
A. Twelve states
B. Victims recover losses through their own insurance
C. Eliminates difficulty in assigning relative negligence
D. Reduce lawsuits - Suits in tort only allowed above a certain threshold
E. Ensures all victims are compensated
3. Common law negligence (Tort)
  • Elements
    • Duty
    • Breech
    • Causation
    • Injury (Damages)
  • Who was the driver?
    • Human operator
    • Liability shift to manufacturer exercise
  • Driver liability – Negligence
  • Manufacturer liability
    • Negligence
    • Misrepresentation
    • Warranty
4. Manufacturer strict liability
  • Ultrahazardous activity
  • Design defect
  • Manufacturing defect
  • Warning defect
  • Preemption
  • Other limitations on strict liability
5. HAV crashes and liability assessment
  • Tesla Williston Florida
  • Uber Glendale, Arizona
  • Tesla Palo Alto, California