The National Academies

NCHRP 20-102(07) [Final]

Implications of Automation for Motor Vehicle Codes
[ NCHRP 20-102 (Impacts of Connected Vehicles and Automated Vehicles on State and Local Transportation Agencies--Task-Order Support) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $350,000
Research Agency: Virginia Polytechnic Institute
Principal Investigator: Myra Blanco
Effective Date: 11/14/2016
Completion Date: 2/13/2018


The research deliverables are available as NCHRP Web-Only Document 253:

  • Vol. 1: Legal Landscape Research was needed to better understand and address the impact of automated driving systems on motor vehicle codes and other related domains.
  • Vol. 2: State Legal and Regulatory Audit
  • Vol. 3: Legal Modification Prioritization and Harmonization Analysis
  • Vol. 4: Autonomous Vehicle Action Plan
  • Vol. 5: Developing the Autonomous Vehicle Action Plan
  • Vol. 6: Implementation Plan
This work was coordinated with related efforts underway by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA).

Existing motor vehicle codes have been developed based on implicit assumptions about drivers maintaining continuous involvement in the driving task and continuous responsibility for managing traffic safety hazards. Automated driving systems significantly reduce the role of the driver, which means that some of these codes will need to be reconsidered. The incorporation of driving behavior into in-vehicle software also generates pressure to harmonize the rules of the road across jurisdictions.


The objective of this research was to provide state departments of transportation (DOTs) and motor vehicle departments with guidance and resources to assist with the legal changes that will result from the roll out of connected and automated vehicles.

This research: 
·         Provides a review applicable existing laws and regulations that may need reconsideration as connected vehicles (CV) and connected and automated vehicles (AV) become more widely used with a focus on how these codes need to be revised (and how soon).
·         Expected changes to motor vehicle laws, regulations, and statutes related to CV and AV may affect current driving practices and continuous responsibility for managing traffic safety hazards.
·         Identifies barriers to implementation of new Rules of the Road resulting from the roll out of CV and AV and develop strategies to overcome them.
·         Addresses processes and stages for modifying relevant motor vehicle code, laws, regulations, and statutes.

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