On 15 November 2021, President Joe Biden signed H.R. 3684, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill). Division B of this legislation, called the Surface Transportation Investment Act of 2021, includes provisions that may impact safety features available on consumer vehicles in the coming years. CAR analysts have reviewed this bill to summarize key sections for our affiliates and the general public.
Automatic Shutoff Technology (HR 3684 Section 24205)
This provision requires the U.S. DOT National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to amend Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) to mandate the installation of an automatic shutoff switch to prevent vehicles from idling for too long.
- Applies only to vehicles with an internal combustion engine as the intent is to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Only covers keyless ignition systems (NHTSA may or may not choose to include traditional keyed ignition systems in the rule depending on whether or not their research determines that it would be beneficial).
- The duration of permitted idling before the automatic shutoff would halt engine operation is not specified and must be determined based on NHTSA’s research.
- NHTSA will issue this new rule by 15 November 2023, with enforcement beginning 1 September 2024 (for the 2025 model year).
Crash Avoidance Technology (HR 3684 Section 24208)
This provision directs NHTSA to issue an FMVSS for collision avoidance technology, including automated emergency braking (AEB) and lane-keeping.
- The industry and NHTSA had previously agreed to pursue voluntary actions to make AEB (though not lane-keeping) standard in most vehicles by the 2023 model year; some automakers have already achieved this pledge.
- Formal adoption of a safety standard implies that NHTSA will also have to research the efficacy of these systems and detail minimum performance requirements for regulatory compliance. There is no deadline for this action.
- Another provision, Section 24213, directs NHTSA to incorporate crash avoidance technology into the NCAP 5-star safety rating system by 15 November 2022. A separate provision, Section 23010 of Title III regarding motor carrier safety, directs NHTSA to adopt a rule to require AEB for certain commercial vehicles, including semi-trucks, by 15 November 2023.
- Additionally, Section 24214 calls for a review of current vehicle bumper standards, including consideration of crash avoidance technologies. The law directs NHTSA to post a notice soliciting comments for potential regulatory action by 15 November 2023.
Driver Distraction Mitigation Technology (HR 3684 Section 24209)
The law instructs NHTSA to perform research and report to Congress on the potential for technology interventions to reduce driver distraction, driver disengagement, automation complacency, and foreseeable misuse of ADAS by drivers. In other words, this would evaluate the potential for a camera-based driver monitoring system (DMS) to accurately detect such driver activities, as well as technologies to intervene.
- An initial report to Congress is due by 15 November 2024.
- The law instructs NHTSA to consider pursuing a related rulemaking if such research suggests a DMS mandate would provide a positive safety benefit.
Dynamic Headlights (HR 3684 Section 24212)
FMVSS No. 108 currently prohibits dynamic beam headlights. NHTSA never intended to preclude dynamic beam headlights with FMVSS No. 108, but the regulatory language was drafted before such technology was considered. This type of headlight has been allowed in the EU for many years. Section 24212 of the legislation directs NHTSA to amend FMVSS No. 108 to allow dynamic beam headlamps by 15 November 2023.
Drunk and Impaired Driving Prevention Technology (HR 3684 Section 24220)
This provision directs NHTSA to issue a rule that would require “advanced drunk and impaired driving prevention technology” in new light vehicles.
- Congress tasked NHTSA with interpreting this law, including establishing the statutory meaning of “impaired.”
- The legislation directs NHTSA to adopt a new safety mandate by 15 November 2024 and begin enforcing it by September 2027 (at the latest) if this is feasible.
- The law provides NHTSA an option to delay implementation if research finds that the technology is not yet at a stage of maturity that would allow the agency to effectively implement such a mandate.
The Center for Automotive Research will continue to monitor developments in safety and other areas of regulation. A link to the full bill can be found here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/3684/text
 Dynamic headlights (aka: adaptive driving beam headlamps) are constructed of a matrix of individual LEDs that use vision sensors to automatically highlight potential hazards without blinding oncoming traffic.
Eric Paul Dennis, P.E.
Senior Transportation Systems Analyst
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