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U.S. House passes bill to speed deployment of self-driving cars

Staff Writer |
The House voted to speed the introduction of self-driving cars by giving the federal government authority to exempt automakers from safety standards not applicable to the technology.

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The bill is to permit deployment of up to 100,000 of the vehicles annually over the next several years.

Self-driving cars are forecast to dramatically lower traffic fatalities once they are on roads in significant numbers, among other benefits.

Early estimates indicate there were more than 40,000 traffic fatalities last year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 94 percent of crashes involve human error.

The House bill is the product of extensive negotiations between Democrats and Republicans.

The measure "gives the auto industry the tools to revolutionize how we're going to get around for generations to come," said Rep. Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican.

Rep. Debbie Dingell, a Michigan Democrat, said the bill "is fundamentally an issue of American competitiveness" since foreign automakers are developing self-driving cars as well.

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