"Safety Through Awareness, Awareness Through Eduction"
"Safety Through Awareness, Awareness Through Eduction"

Two Stories that Caught Our Eye

August in Washington, D.C. is normally a quiet time of year as lawmakers have left town and will not return until after Labor Day. Despite this, a few issues caught our eye that we wanted to make you aware of.

On August 11th Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) sent a joint letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on how the agency is working to address its report showing that Tesla vehicles were implicated in numerous crashes, including crashes involving serious injuries and five known deaths. As we mentioned last week, two fatal crashes between Tesla vehicles and bikers in California and Utah earlier this year have raised concerns at the MRF.

According to the letter, “Federal investigations and recent reporting have uncovered troubling safety issues associated with these systems, including but not limited to the following:

Driver Engagement– The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that Tesla’s Autopilot system does not effectively monitor driver engagement and respond to driver inattentiveness.

Erratic Driving – Reports have found that vehicles in Full Self Driving (FSD) mode have imperiled bicyclists and pedestrians, driven down tram tracks, and crashed into bollards.

Rolling Stops– Last year, Tesla issued a software update enabling FSD to make “rolling stops,” in which the vehicle fails to come to a complete stop at all-way stop intersections.

Passenger Play – Last year, Tesla introduced a new “Passenger Play” feature enabling occupants to play video games on the center console while the car is in motion, which could be used by the driver when the Autopilot feature is engaged.

Phantom Braking – In October 2021, Tesla recalled certain vehicles equipped with FSD software over issues with vehicle braking. 11 Vehicles equipped with this software were reportedly braking sharply in response to falsely detected road hazards.”

To read the full letter to NHTSA click here.

To read about the Utah crash click here.

To read more about the California crash click here.

The other major news this month was the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. Included in the legislation was a 10-year tax credit worth up to $7,500 for the purchase of a new electric vehicle and a $4,000 tax credit for a used vehicle. The Department of Energy has released a list of nearly 30 vehicles that meet the requirements for the tax credit, however, clearly missing from the list are electric motorcycles. The tax credit only applies to four wheeled vehicles assembled in the United States.

Now there is no doubt that many of the 10 million bikers in this country have no interest in purchasing an electric motorcycle! If it doesn’t run on an internal combustion engine, they have no interest in riding it. Nevertheless, it’s concerning when the federal government crafts policy regarding our transportation system and omits motorcycles from that policy. While D.C. has ignored bikers, a handful of state governments have rightly included motorcycles in their state-run tax credit programs for electric vehicles.

Even with Congress on vacation until September, the MRF remains committed and vigilant in defending the rights and safety of all bikers.

Ride Safe and Ride Free.

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