Autonomous vehicle developers, law enforcement, and other stakeholders need to work together to maximize safety, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

In particular, the groups need to improve public messaging about AVs, focus on roadway safety challenges, and develop training for law enforcement officers, the association recommended in a new report.

"Surveys show that many drivers do not understand or trust AVs, or appreciate their own operator responsibilities likely due to the many mixed, confusing, or inaccurate messages about these features," said Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the association. "We need to win the public's trust and prepare them for safe use so that the lifesaving potential of this technology is not delayed."

The association's report recommends that stakeholders develop and deploy "consistent, honest safety messages to the public" about various levels of automation from advanced driver assisting features to fully self-driving vehicles.

Autonomous vehicle developers also need to continue to focus on ongoing traffic safety challenges such as impaired driving, speeding, failure to buckle up, distracted driving, and sharing the road with pedestrians and other non-motorized users.

Lastly, stakeholders need to develop uniform policy and training for police, first responders, and court officials about responding to and investigating AV crashes.

"While AVs will change our lives in many ways, they raise important highway safety issues," said Ryan Gammelgard, counsel at State Farm. "This report is a key piece to helping make sure we all work together to ensure the technology works as advertised."

The association released a white paper with its recommendations on May 8. It will present its findings on Aug. 26 at its annual meeting in Anaheim, Calif.

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