September 23, 2021
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The Governors Highway Safety Association recently released a new report that offers guidance for law enforcement officials and other first responders as well as crash scene investigators on how to interact with automated vehicle technology.

[Above photo by Waymo]

Produced by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute with a grant from insurance firm State Farm, GHSA’s report – entitled Law Enforcement, First Responder and Crash Investigation Preparation for Automated Vehicle Technology – seeks to help first responders prepare for different “scenarios” involving fully automated vehicles and driver assistance technologies.

Photo by Google

Those scenarios include how to disable, move, or stabilize autonomous vehicles (AVs) that have been involved in a crash or abandoned; whether AVs can detect emergency vehicles and/or first responders directing traffic at crash sites; and how to determine ownership of AVs and/or assign responsibility for a crash.

“The rise of automated vehicle technology creates new opportunities to prevent crashes and accelerate efforts to reach our goal of zero roadway deaths, but this technology also poses new problems for public safety officials,” explained Jonathan Adkins, GHSA’s executive director, in a statement.

GHSA’s Jonathan Adkins

“GHSA remains focused on helping State Highway Safety Offices and our law enforcement partners be ready for widespread deployment of vehicles with these technologies, so everyone stays safe regardless of who is, or isn’t, driving,” he said.

“Vehicles with advanced safety features are becoming increasingly more common on the road,” added Laurel Straub, assistant vice president of enterprise research for State Farm.

“This is creating a need for first responders to understand the ever-changing technologies, better equipping them to serve their communities,” she noted. “This research aligns with our ongoing commitment to roadway safety for all road users.”

editor@aashto.org

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