NHTSA recently issued a First Amended Standing General Order requiring electronic portal submission of crash incident data for automated and semi-autonomous vehicles. As of August 12, 2021, automated motor vehicle manufacturers, motor vehicle equipment manufacturers, and operators will be required to report and upload crash incident data within 24 hours to the NHTSA Incident Report Portal. The 24 hour incident crash reporting requirement is in effect for three years from the date of issuance of the Standing General Order (“SGO”), until June 29, 2024.

The First Amended Standing General Order supersedes but does not substantively change the requirements of NHTSA’s initial SGO, which NHTSA served on 108 major OEMs, robotics, electronics, AI, rideshare, and software companies on June 29, 2021. The SGO applies to manufacturers and operators of motor vehicle equipment and motor vehicles equipped with (i) SAE Level 2 advanced driver assistance systems (“ADAS”), which includes common safety features such as adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance, and (ii) SAE Levels 3-5 automated driving systems (“ADS”) (conditional to full driving automation).

The First Amended SGO and SGO are early demonstrations of NHTSA’s more aggressive regulatory and enforcement oversight of automated and semi-autonomous vehicles under Biden administration leadership. For the first time, NHTSA has imposed reporting obligations solely through regulatory action rather than as a result of a Congressional mandate. The 24 hour timeline for reporting is also a swifter timeline than Part 573 safety defect and noncompliance reporting under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, and the monthly reporting requirement (even in the absence of crash incident data), is a swifter timeline than quarterly early warning reporting requirements under the TREAD Act. NHTSA also determines through the Orders that ADS and ADAS constitute “motor vehicle equipment” subject to regulation under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

The SGO also provides three limited exceptions to public disclosure of the incident reports based on confidentiality claims under Part 512. The Order’s guidance signals a greater transparency approach to public safety information.

Who is Responsible for Reporting?

The SGO requires vehicle and equipment manufacturers and operators to report certain crashes that occur while the ADS or Level 2 ADAS is engaged, or immediately after it is in use, and to provide sufficient information for NHTSA to identify crashes warranting further follow-up. As with other reporting requirements, the SGO does not prioritize reports between manufacturers and other reporting entities. The SGO’s imposition of reporting requirements on operators as well as vehicle manufacturers, and its determination that ADS and Level 2 ADAS constitute “motor vehicle equipment” reflects a more expansive assertion of NHTSA authority over technology companies that supply automated systems to vehicle manufacturers.

Which Crashes Trigger Reporting?

Each incident that meets the following criteria requires submission of an incident report by a manufacturer and operator within one day of each entity learning of a crash, and an updated report within ten days:

  • The crash occurred on a publicly accessible road in the United States;
  • The ADS or ADAS was engaged at any time during the 30 seconds immediately prior to the crash through the conclusion of the crash; and
  • The crash results in a hospital-treated injury, a fatality, a vehicle tow-away, an air bag deployment, or involved a vulnerable road user (e.g., pedestrian, cyclist, etc.).

Additionally, every month, companies must report all other crashes of an ADS or Level 2 ADAS-equipped vehicle that involve injury or property damage. If no crashes occur in any given month, reporting entities must submit a monthly incident report confirming the lack of any reportable information.

What Information is Collected and Disseminated?

The initial reports must include information on the reporting entity, vehicle, incident (date, time, scene, and crash severity details), and post-crash activities and data availability. NHTSA plans to review the reports to identify crashes for further follow-up, including potential Special Crash Investigations or requests for further information, such as Event Data Recorder data. NHTSA may also open defect investigations, as warranted.

The Order preemptively identifies the limited scope of information to be afforded confidential treatment, including: (1) the version of the ADAS/ADS with which a vehicle is equipped; (2) whether the vehicle was within its operational design domain at the time of the incident; and (3) the defect narrative.

If you have any questions concerning the material discussed in this blog post, please contact the following members of our Connected and Autonomous Vehicles practice:

Sarah Wilson                                     +1 202 662 5397                    swilson@cov.com
Jennifer Johnson                              +1 202 662 5552                    jjohnson@cov.com
Rebecca Yergin                                 +1 202 662 5935                    ryergin@cov.com
Olivia Dworkin                                  +1 424 332 4817                    odworkin@cov.com
Nira Pandya                                       +1 650 632 4724                    npandya@cov.com

 

This post is a part of Covington’s CAV blog series, which covers CAV developments across the world. To access prior CAV blog posts and webinars and to learn more about our team and our work, please visit Covington’s CAV website.

This information is not intended as legal advice. Readers should seek specific legal advice before acting with regard to the subjects mentioned herein.

Covington & Burling LLP, an international law firm, provides corporate, litigation and regulatory expertise to enable clients to achieve their goals. This communication is intended to bring relevant developments to our clients and other interested colleagues. Please send an email to unsubscribe@cov.com if you do not wish to receive future emails or electronic alerts.

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Photo of Jennifer Johnson Jennifer Johnson

Jennifer Johnson is a partner specializing in communications, media and technology matters who serves as co-chair of Covington’s global and multi-disciplinary Internet of Things (IoT) group. She represents and advises content distributors, broadcast companies, trade associations, and other media and technology entities on…

Jennifer Johnson is a partner specializing in communications, media and technology matters who serves as co-chair of Covington’s global and multi-disciplinary Internet of Things (IoT) group. She represents and advises content distributors, broadcast companies, trade associations, and other media and technology entities on a wide range of issues. Jennifer has more than two decades of experience advising clients in the communications, media and technology sectors, and has served as a co-chair for these practices for more than 15 years. On IoT issues, she collaborates with Covington’s global, multi-disciplinary team to assist companies navigating the complex statutory and regulatory constructs surrounding this evolving area, including legal issues with respect to connected and autonomous vehicles, internet connected devices, smart ecosystems, and other IoT products and services.

Jennifer assists clients in developing and pursuing strategic business and policy objectives before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Congress and through transactions and other business arrangements. She regularly advises clients on FCC regulatory matters and advocates frequently before the FCC. Jennifer has extensive experience negotiating content acquisition and distribution agreements for media and technology companies, including program distribution agreements with cable, satellite, and telco companies, network affiliation and other program rights agreements for television companies, and agreements providing for the aggregation and distribution of content on over-the-top app-based platforms. She also assists investment clients in structuring, evaluating, and pursuing potential investments in media and technology companies.

Photo of Sarah Wilson Sarah Wilson

Sarah L. Wilson is a litigation partner and former federal judge whose practice focuses on litigation and investigations. Ms. Wilson chairs the firm’s Product Safety Practice Group. She advises products manufacturers on product safety laws, and has represented the world’s largest automotive and…

Sarah L. Wilson is a litigation partner and former federal judge whose practice focuses on litigation and investigations. Ms. Wilson chairs the firm’s Product Safety Practice Group. She advises products manufacturers on product safety laws, and has represented the world’s largest automotive and consumer product companies in recall and post-recall investigations and disputes. She has handled a broad range of civil and criminal disputes, including consumer protection and product liability disputes, False Claims Act litigation, environmental and natural resources litigation, insurance litigation, pharmaceutical and consumer product company investigations, and arbitration.

Photo of Rebecca Yergin Rebecca Yergin

Rebecca Yergin practice focuses on a broad range of privacy, data security, technology, and communications issues. In particular, Ms. Yergin counsels technology companies on federal and state privacy and data security laws and regulations, including in the healthcare space. She also assists clients…

Rebecca Yergin practice focuses on a broad range of privacy, data security, technology, and communications issues. In particular, Ms. Yergin counsels technology companies on federal and state privacy and data security laws and regulations, including in the healthcare space. She also assists clients in negotiating commercial transactions relating to content distribution, and she advises clients on Federal Communications Commission compliance issues. Ms. Yergin’s practice furthermore focuses on the regulatory ecosystem for the Internet of Things (“IoT”), including connected and automated vehicles.

Photo of Nira Pandya Nira Pandya

Nira Pandya advises private and public companies on venture capital financings, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, strategic investments, and other corporate transactions. She also represents emerging companies in general corporate matters, including entity formation, corporate governance, and securities law compliance.

Photo of Olivia Dworkin Olivia Dworkin

Olivia Dworkin minimizes regulatory and litigation risks for clients in the pharmaceutical, food, consumer brands, digital health, and medical device industries through strategic advice on FDA compliance issues.

Olivia defends her clients against such litigation as well, representing them through various stages of…

Olivia Dworkin minimizes regulatory and litigation risks for clients in the pharmaceutical, food, consumer brands, digital health, and medical device industries through strategic advice on FDA compliance issues.

Olivia defends her clients against such litigation as well, representing them through various stages of complex class actions and product liability matters. She maintains an active pro bono practice that focuses on gender-based violence, sexual harassment, and reproductive rights.