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ACC Applauds NHTSA Rule to Usher in the Future of Autonomous Vehicles

Plastics Critical to Safety and Performance of Automated Vehicles

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Matthew Kastner
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WASHINGTON, DC (March 14, 2022) — The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued on Friday a final rule on safety standards for automated vehicles and vehicles with driver assistance systems. The following statement may be attributed to Joshua Baca, vice president of plastics at the American Chemistry Council (ACC):

“ACC applauds DOT for its forward-looking rulemaking for autonomous vehicles, bringing U.S. drivers and passengers closer to the many benefits automated driving technologies hold.

“Autonomous vehicles are no longer just in sci-fi movies. The technology has advanced significantly over the past decade, and its commercialization will bring massive societal benefits. Not only will it give people new pockets of time while commuting, it will enable the mobility of underserved populations, particularly the elderly and disabled. Most importantly, autonomous vehicles hold the promise of greater safety by reducing driver fatalities caused by human error.

“Plastics already are widely used in today’s vehicles, making them lighter weight, more fuel-efficient, and much safer by better absorbing impact during a crash. With NHTSA’s final rule ushering in autonomous vehicles, more components will rely on plastics for passenger safety, vehicle performance and comfort, such as cameras, sensors, radars, vehicle haptics, reconfigurable seating, and more.

“As governments, consumers, and businesses strive to improve sustainability, circularity and end-of-life solutions for automotive plastics are increasingly important. In September, ACC entered into a partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to advance circular solutions for automotive plastics. This new rule will necessitate greater reliance on innovative plastics in vehicles, underscoring the importance of that partnership to improve the sustainability of vehicles.

“This rulemaking is a boon to society and technological innovation. Plastics will play a critical role in tomorrow’s autonomous vehicles. We commend NHTSA for creating a regulatory pathway that fosters innovation, underpinned by consumer safety and beneficial to underserved populations.”

Learn more about the innovative material solutions the automotive value chain provides at https://www.automotiveplastics.com/.

American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the multibillion-dollar business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products, technologies and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health, safety and security performance through Responsible Care®; common sense advocacy addressing major public policy issues; and health and environmental research and product testing. ACC members and chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development, and are advancing products, processes and technologies to address climate change, enhance air and water quality, and progress toward a more sustainable, circular economy.

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