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Road-safety regulator rapped over regulating autonomous cars

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. road-safety regulator is under fire again for what critics are calling lax oversight of tests conducted on autonomous vehicles.

The nation’s top transportation-safety investigator said on Tuesday that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration doesn’t give enough direction to companies developing automated cars.

And a member of the Senate Commerce Committee questioned the acting administrator NHTSA about why the agency hasn’t confronted Tesla about widely shared hacks that let drivers take their hands off the wheel.

The acting administrator, James Owens, said the agency is assessing autonomous-vehicle technology and researching how people use it.

The hearing comes a day after the National Transportation Safety Board accused NHTSA of failing to adequately regulate the testing of autonomous vehicles. One board member said NHTSA puts more emphasis on technology advancement than on saving lives.

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