How the Infrastructure Bill Will Impact Secure Transportation

The newly enacted Build Back Better Bill incorporates several provisions for standardizing vehicle safety features. Some of the Infrastructure Bill may affect the Security Drivers and Secure Transportation. The following are some quick hits, and an in-depth paper will be available once we go through the information available.

Electric Vehicles (EVs)

The Bill includes a $2.5 billion grant program to organizations and public entities for building up infrastructure surrounding EVs and alternative fuel vehicles. Biden recently signed an executive order calling for 50 percent of new car sales to be electrified units by 2030. That is eight years away. Some significant hurdles need to be overcome before Secure Transportation can go to EVs. There needs to be quicker charging – more charging stations – and increased vehicle range. The Bill is addressing these issues.

Better Headlights – Adaptive Driving Beam Headlights

As we have been writing about for years, the time an executive spends in their vehicle is undoubtedly the highest risk period of their day – driving in low light scenarios increases that risk dramatically. One of the contributors to this increase in risk is the vehicle’s headlights. Most headlights on US Vehicles are inadequate. The Infrastructure Bill will change this.

The Infrastructure Bill gives the Secretary of Transportation a maximum of two years after its passage to amend Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard Number 108 (FMVSS 108). FMVSS 108 governs headlight requirements and allows automakers to integrate this advanced headlight technology into vehicles. The importance of this cannot be overstated.

From CNET – What these headlights can do is automatically shut off certain clusters of LEDs while you’re driving. Today, headlights in the US just go from bright to really bright when flicking on the high beams. Sure, automatic high beams are a thing, but adaptive headlights take things ten steps further.

Say you’re driving on a dark road off the highway, and a car approaches from the opposite direction. The headlights see this, shut down the cluster of lights that would end up blinding the other driver in oncoming traffic, and keep your lane completely lit with as much light as possible. The technology can do this for multiple cars, too, if different lanes.

It doesn’t end there, however. Adaptive headlights can project patterns onto the road to help drivers see when a lane ends. Some brands are tinkering with symbols splashed onto the road to let drivers know of hazards up ahead, such as ice. The possibilities are enormous for the wild lighting tech.

So, at the latest, we could see this fancy tech on numerous new cars by 2024, but perhaps even sooner than that.

See Adaptive headlights finally legal in the US with Biden’s infrastructure bill signed into law.

Vehicle mileage tax program

The vehicle mileage tax program included in the infrastructure bill proposes a three-year pilot program to study the viability of a road user charge. The program will begin in 2022. After the three years is up in 2025, Congress will review the data and decide whether the Vehicle Mileage Program should be voted into law.

There are national as well as state programs that will try out the per-mile user fees. Given that it’s a pilot program and not established into law, it requires passenger and commercial drivers’ to voluntarily participate.  The program will use telematics devices such as onboard diagnostic devices, smartphone apps to monitor drivers. 

The International Security Driver Association has covered Telematics in a recent podcast episode.

These devices will track the miles driven within a specific time. As part of the vehicle mileage tax pilot program, volunteers will pay-per-mile taxes based on the number of miles driven within a particular quarter of the calendar year. 

We (the International Security Driver Association) have a few concerns about this portion of the Bill. None more significant than the fact that the government can track you and your principal’s movements, including where and when they drive.  With all due respect to our government, we can’t imagine a government group/agency tracking every vehicle in the US. 

For more info read the Metro Mile article

Crash avoidance technology

Forward-collision warning, automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist systems are coming to your future car—like it or not. When, however, it is still up for debate, as the Act gives the Secretary of Transportation the power to determine a date to mandate this technology. 

Many automakers are already ahead of the curve on this one. Many of the recently redesigned models have standard forward-collision warning and automatic braking system technology.

The most important portion of the Bill is that it has mandated that the Secretary of Transportation establish a minimum performance standard with respect to crash avoidance technology. The Bill will require that all passenger motor vehicles manufactured in the United States on or after the compliance date comply with the standard.

We feel that the creation of a standard for crash avoidance technology is long overdue. Keep in mind that not all crash avoidance technology is created equal. The performance of these systems varies considerably. For example, an Automated Emergency Braking System in one vehicle will stop at the rate of .35G’s, and another will stop at .7g’s. The vehicle that stops at the .35G rate will take twice as long to stop as the vehicle with the .7G rate of deceleration, which can be problematic.