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Senators Seek to Attach Self-Driving Car Reprieve to China Bill

  • Amendment would allow up to 80,000 self-driving cars annually
  • Safety groups say granting exemptions would be premature
Tesla Self-Driving Feature

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

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Lawmakers pushing to allow U.S. automakers to sell as many as 80,000 self-driving cars apiece each year are trying to pin the fate of their measure to bipartisan legislation to enhance American competitiveness with China.

The measure backed by Democratic Senator Gary Peters, of Michigan, and Republican Senator John Thune, of South Dakota, seeks to provide U.S. safety regulators the authority to grant exemptions from motor vehicle safety standards that assume a human driver is controlling the vehicle -- only if the same level of safety is maintained.