As we race towards an autonomous driving future, regulators are looking for ways to keep up with the latest technological advancements- while maintaining control over safety.

The Self Driving Coalition for Safer Streets is reacting to current federal safety standards. The coalition includes automakers and technology companies. They’re urging regulators to update safety regs that require a human operator.  In March, a review of current Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards found that they “do not explicitly address automated vehicle technology and often assume the presence of a human driver”. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation issued its latest policy for automated vehicles in September. It includes a safety checklist for developing the technology. The Self Driving Coalition says they support one set of rules for the entire country, and hope federal regulators will discourage state and local governments from setting their own rules. The coalition is also calling on Congress to help get self-driving technology on the road faster. The DOT says they plan to update their self-driving policy every year.

If and when autonomous cars arrive, one can only wonder how long owners will keep them on the roads. If recent reports are any indication---it might extend beyond what some people think as consumers are holding onto their vehicles longer than ever.

New research from IHS Markit, a provider of business information and analysis for the global automotive industry, shows the average age of cars and light trucks in the U.S. is now 11.6 years-that’s up from 11.5 last year…and a new record. IHS Markit says the main reason is improved quality in today’s automobiles, but longer car loans are also a factor.  Another overlapping impact-- this trend could be good news for automotive repair businesses.

That’s the long and the short of it for this week’s Motor News.