Securing America's Future Energy

SAFE Applauds Washington Governor for Signing Executive Order on Autonomous Vehicles

Contact: Bridget Bartol | 202.461.2361 |

Washington, D.C.—Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) commends Washington Governor Jay Inslee for signing an executive order that will help accelerate autonomous vehicle (AV) deployment and allow for the on-road testing of self-driving cars with or without a licensed operator behind the wheel.

“SAFE applauds Governor Inslee for bringing Washington to the forefront of AV deployment and providing a positive landscape for developing new transportation technologies,” said SAFE President and CEO Robbie Diamond. “SAFE continues to advocate for a single, unified national framework for AV development and deployment, but commends state actions for providing clarity for companies that want to safely test and deploy these technologies on public roads. A clear regulatory environment is ultimately the best way to ensure a safer, more accessible, more efficient and more fuel-diverse U.S. transportation system.”

The executive order enables AV developers to deploy on public roads after self-certifying that the vehicles can comply with Washington’s existing rules of the road and are backed with appropriate liability insurance. Importantly, it also establishes a working group in the Office of the Governor that will use information from early deployment to modify and improve AV regulation in the interest of expanded deployment and safety. This executive order strikes a crucial balance between facilitating safe AV deployment and continued study of this issue, all while avoiding harmful overregulation.

Until a unified national framework is in place, SAFE believes that states should restrain state agencies and local municipalities from overregulating this space, in order to prevent unnecessary delays in deployment of the technologies. Governor Inslee has provided much needed certainty to automotive and technology companies and will spur increased AV development in Washington.

In January, SAFE’s Commission on Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Safety, a panel of experts and former public officials committed to the safe and timely introduction of AVs, released its best-practice recommendations for AV deployment. These recommendations emphasized the need for a clear regulatory environment, as well as industry-government communication.

In 2016, SAFE’s Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a group of senior retired military officers and CEOs committed to reducing U.S. oil dependence for economic and national security reasons, released a set of recommendations for AV advancement and adoption in its comprehensive policy document, A National Strategy for Energy Security: The Innovation Revolution.

About Securing America’s Future Energy

Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) is an action-oriented, nonpartisan organization that aims to reduce America’s dependence on oil. Near-total dependence on petroleum in the transportation sector undermines the nation’s economic and national security, and constrains U.S. foreign policy. To combat these threats, SAFE advocates for expanded domestic production of U.S. oil and gas resources, continued improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency, and transportation sector innovations including electric vehicles, natural gas trucks, and autonomous vehicles. In 2006, SAFE joined with General P.X. Kelley (Ret.), 28th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President, and CEO of FedEx Corporation, to form the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a group of business and former military leaders committed to reducing the United States’ dependence on oil. Today, the ESLC is co-chaired by Frederick W. Smith and General James T. Conway (Ret), 34th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.

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