First in a series
11 days ago, the US National Highway Transportation Safety Administration published a notice of proposed rulemaking to allow ADB in the world's largest developed market not yet allowing the technology. And six days ago, the SAE Lighting Systems Group ADB Task Force held their first meeting about it. With local participants in Michigan as well as remote participation by WebEx and phone from interested persons located across North America and parts of Europe, the meeting lasted over an hour and a half—and the plan is for meetings like this to convene on a weekly basis for the foreseeable future. Unless someone applies for an extension and NHTSA grants it, that future is just 49 days long; the public comment period on the proposal closes on 11 December. Right from go, there are mixed feelings about this state of affairs; on one hand, it can legitimately be said that a rule allowing ADB—any rule allowing any ADB—will be an improvement over the present total ban. On the other hand, there's that sinking-pit-of-stomach feeling of being stuck between bad and worse: it is felt that many points and provisions in NHTSA's proposal warrant a great deal more thought and care, and that it will take a great deal of time to run tests and experiments to generate the data needed to persuade NHTSA to make adjustments. The timing is difficult, too: if an extension is granted, a big chunk of the extra time will be unusable, as it would coincide with Christmas and New Year's when it's difficult to get any work done.