Hackers showing Wired how easy it is to remotely hack into a Jeep Cherokee and disable it on the highway in July immediately prompted senators (Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal) to introduce an automotive security bill and Chrysler to implement a software patch to thwart future hacking efforts, while recalling over 1 million affected vehicles.
Now, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee is empowering the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to radically beef up car-hacking regulations, drafting a bill proposal Wednesday that would make it illegal to hack into a vehicle, with stiff penalties of up to $100,000 for committing such an offense.
"To provide greater transparency, accountability, and safety authority to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and for other purposes," the proposed law's opening mission statement reads in the draft.
Under the proposal, the NHTSA would form a cybersecurity advisory council, which would have automaker officials and federal regulators constantly discussing safety concerns and figuring out better ways for data collection from vehicles.
The bill would also mandate that carmakers directly email vehicle owners about recalls, but that the NHTSA would see to it that all affected owners complete their recalls. After all, a recall notice doesn't serve any good to the owner or drivers sharing the same roads if the vehicle isn't repaired and brought up to date in a timely manner.
A tricky part of the draft proposal includes automakers being able to earn a pass on fuel-economy and emissions regulations, as long as their vehicles come standardly equipped with three out of the nine following safety features: forward collision warning, adaptive brake assist, autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warnings, lane-keeping assistance, driver attention monitor, left turn assist and intersection movement assist.
Any pass on emissions regulations is surprising, considering all the turmoil that Volkswagen is going through with its emissions-cheating scandal, but the idea behind that part of the proposal is to lower fuel consumption and traffic, altogether.
Now, let's see if this bill can get passed into a law.