Kids in AVs

Consortium on Protecting Children in Autonomous Vehicles 

Safe Kids Worldwide is organizing a consortium of pioneers to lead the way in a joint effort to protect children in autonomous vehicles (AVs). Much in the same way seat belt advocates changed the safety norms for all vehicles in the 1960s, this innovative group of professionals will be at the forefront of an 18-month volunteer effort to ensure the safety of children in this evolving transportation field.

Why Now?

AVs are already being tested on roads in more than two dozen communities nationwide, and it is critical that the traffic safety community take steps to address child passenger safety for all children under age 13. In 2018, Safe Kids Worldwide convened a Blue Ribbon Panel (BRP) comprised of top-level child safety and transportation experts to study the issue of children in AVs. In October, the BRP released a report that included a call to action for AV developers and component designers as well as eight recommendations the collective traffic safety community can begin addressing now.

In response to one of the BRP recommendations, Safe Kids Worldwide is convening this new Consortium to drive action toward protecting children in AVs for years to come. The Consortium will provide guidance for those who are developing regulations, legislations, policies and best practices for children.

Our Goal

The goal of the Consortium is to inform legislation, policy, enforcement, education and best practices in this rapidly evolving field to make sure the safety of child passengers is considered and valued in the development of AVs.

How Will the Consortium Work?

The applications process is now closed. Safe Kids Worldwide will announce selections for Consortium Membership by early April.  At its launch in Spring 2019, the Consortium will consist of two working groups.

Policy/Legislation/Enforcement Working Group

This group will focus on the first four recommendations identified in the Blue Ribbon Panel Report to protect child passengers in AVs and create guidance and tools to support decision makers when legislation, enforcement and policies are being drafted. It will guide states to develop and maintain strict, universally-applicable passenger safety standards for children in AVs whose interests are reflected in state laws, public policy and enforcement.

Public Information and Education Working Group

This working group will take steps to ensure that the next four recommendations identified in the Blue Ribbon Panel Report are considered when new educational efforts are drafted. The goal will be to influence the development of standardized messaging and use of consistent language in new information that educates and informs our nation's frontline grassroots communicators. Child passenger safety technicians, first responders and law enforcement officers as well as federal, state or local workers and those familiar with funding sources are encouraged to apply.  We are also looking for applicants living in the nearly two dozen cities and 12 states that now allow testing or deployment of AVs without a human operator in the vehicle.

Time Commitment

Each volunteer working group will generally meet bi-monthly for an hour via electronic connection or conference call. Members can expect to spend an additional 1-2 hours per week reading, noting or sharing their findings electronically with others in the group. The Consortium will have a one-day kick-off meeting in late spring 2019 in Washington D.C. Members can attend either in-person, via phone or online. Applicants will need to make an 18-month commitment to this effort.

More Information

For more information, e-mail Lorrie Walker at lwalker@safekids.org.

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