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FCC Spectrum Band Vote

  • FCC Spectrum Band Vote

    Last week the Federal Communications Commission voted 5-0 on a controversial measure that opens up spectrum band previously reserved solely for automakers.  Spectrum is the range of electromagnetic radio frequencies used to transmit sound, data, and video across the country. For over 20 years a specific band of spectrum was reserved for automotive safety. The hope being that automakers would develop technology allowing cars to communicate with one another, thus creating safer roadways.

       

    The fight surrounding the allocation of this spectrum pitted cable companies like Comcast on one side vs automakers and the U.S. Department of Transportation on the other.

    U.S. House of Representatives Transportation Committee chairman, Peter DeFazio, called the decision “a gift to corporate interests at the expense of public safety,” adding it “will undermine decades of development and over a billion public dollars that the transportation community has invested in these technologies.”

    During the legislative session at the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) Meeting of the Minds in September, ABATE of Illinois made a strong pitch to other state motorcycle rights organizations that this spectrum issue would impact the safety of motorcyclists nationwide. Following the lead of ABATE of Illinois, MRF membership voted unanimously to add the spectrum band issue to our list of “2021 High Priority Objectives.” The official stance of the MRF is to “Protect the set aside radio spectrums necessary for Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) vehicle to vehicle communications.”

    We will continue to follow the issue and work with like-minded organizations to protect the safety of our roads. Thank you to ABATE of Illinois for their vigilance on this issue.

    If you’d like to read the ABATE of Illinois statement on the topic click here.

     

    Public Comments Sought on Autonomous Vehicles

    As we at the MRF know, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has taken a voluntary approach to autonomous vehicles (AVs) without standards and regulations. This hands-off approach has worried motorcyclists, by allowing the private sector to deploy AVs with little or no oversight.

    Last week NHTSA changed course slightly and asked for public input on a proposed regulation of autonomous vehicle sensors, how the vehicles detect other road users and infrastructure, how they plan routes and how they carry out that plan.

    “This rulemaking will help address legitimate public concerns about safety, security and privacy without hampering innovation in the development of automated driving systems,” said Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

    Once the notice is printed in the Federal Register, the public will have 60 days to comment on proposed regulations. Before the deadline, the MRF will draft a response to NHTSA outlining the concerns of motorcyclists and now government agencies can ensure motorcyclists are accounted for in the development and deployment of this new technology.

    All Information contained in this release is copyrighted. Reproduction permitted with attribution. 

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