Health and Safety Regulation
Public Comment on NHTSA’s Federal Automated Vehicles Policy: Accelerating the Next Revolution In Roadway Safety
By Sofie E. Miller, Howard Beales and Daniel R. Pérez
This comment on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) recent Federal Automated Vehicles Policy considers the impact of regulating driverless car technology on innovation and social welfare. NHTSA is correct to be cautious of the effects that a federal policy could have on innovation, particularly because the safety gains from highly automated vehicles (HAV) could be significant. As a result, the agency should avoid any type of premarket approval authority for HAV technology, which could potentially delay the adoption of life-saving innovations and result in thousands of traffic fatalities.
By D. Pérez, S. Dudley, N. Eisner, R. Lutter, D. Zorn and N. Nord
The George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center prepared this report as part of a grant from the European Union to analyze regulatory cooperation between the EU and U.S. The report includes three case studies examining how cooperation has worked in practice between U.S. regulatory agencies and their EU counterparts and an analysis of U.S. regulations likely to have significant effects on international trade and investment. These analyses identify opportunities to reduce incompatible approaches while indicating areas where differences could persist due to issues of national sovereignty and structural differences between countries.
By Gerald W. Brock, Co-Director
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission published a draft regulatory basis for a proposed rulemaking that would amend the financial qualifications standard for new reactor licensing from the current "reasonable assurance" to the proposed "appears to be financially qualified." However, the proposed standard is unnecessary because there is a market test of financial qualifications that is more accurate than regulatory review. While the proposed new financial qualification standard is better than the current financial qualification standard, simply abolishing the financial qualifications requirement for licensing would be an improvement over the proposed new standard.
Will the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Proposed Standards for Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica Reduce Workplace Risk?
By Susan E. Dudley & Andrew P. Morriss
This article finds that OSHA's proposed rule would contribute little in the way of new information, particularly since it is largely based on information that is at least a decade old—a significant deficiency, given the rapidly changing conditions observed over the last 45 years. The article concludes with recommendations for alternative approaches that would be more likely to generate information needed to improve worker health outcomes.
By Joseph Cordes & Blake Taylor
In 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced its intention to regulate a class of recreational offhighway vehicles commonly referred to as “side by sides.” These vehicles are different from their off-road ATV cousins in that side by sides have bench or bucket seats instead of straddle seating, floor pedals Joseph Cordes is a professor in the George Washington University Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration; he also is co-director of the university’s Regulatory Studies Center. Blake Taylor is a policy analyst in the Regulatory Studies Center. instead of hand levers for throttle and braking, and a steering wheel instead of handlebars for steering. The CPSC released its proposed rule last November. We have been analyzing the rule and filed a public interest comment in which we raise serious issues with the commission’s regulatory analysis.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently sought comment on proposed standards to reduce occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica. The agency faces multiple challenges in devising a regulatory approach that will meet its statutory goal of reducing significant risk. In a comment filed on the public record, University of Alabama law professor Andrew Morriss and I recognize OSHA’s challenges; however, we find that the greatest obstacle to reducing risks associated with silica exposure is not lack of will (on the part of employers or employees), but rather lack of information. Our analysis concludes that the proposed rule will contribute little in the way of new information and, indeed, may stifle the necessary generation of knowledge by precluding flexibility for experimentation and learning.
By Sofie E. Miller & Cassidy B. West
The Food and Drug Administration recently extended to November 15 the deadline for public comment on its proposed rule, Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption. This is the second extension, providing the public an unusually long 304 days to comment on the proposed regulation and offer suggestions for its improvement. It is also a welcome opportunity, as the draft rule does not meet statutory and executive requirements and may needlessly harm consumers as well as small farmers domestically and abroad.
By Sofie E. Miller
Early this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a proposed rule that would require hybrid and electric vehicles to make a sound while being operated at speeds slower than 18 miles per hour. Because they use an electric motor, hybrid and electric vehicles generate less noise than conventional vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICEs), and legislators and regulators alike are concerned that pedestrians could be injured by a vehicle that they can’t hear coming. Under the 2010 Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act, NHTSA must conduct a safety standard rulemaking to establish an “alert sound” for hybrid and electric vehicles. The act requires that the noise made by a hybrid or electric vehicle could allow a pedestrian, especially a sightimpaired pedestrian, to identify the direction of the vehicle. NHTSA is also operating under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, which requires NHTSA safety standards to “be performance-oriented, practicable, and objective, and meet the need for safety. In addition, in developing and issuing a standard, NHTSA must consider whether the standard is reasonable, practicable, and appropriate for each type of motor vehicle covered by the standard.”