Is there any organized group in the United States (or, more broadly,
North America) pushing for this type of arrangement?
There is no organized group in the United States or more broadly in North America of any significance pushing for this type of arrangement.
I can't definitively rule out the possibility that some college club with six members, or other small, organized group of people, somewhere in North America is pushing for it. But any such group is not pushing strongly enough to make media headlines or attract the attention of even someone who plays close attention to the news.
There are certainly groups out there who are concerned about traffic deaths caused by large consumer market SUVs and trucks, but a special license is not a tool that those concerned about this problem have suggested. Instead, here are two suggestions that are being pressed by organized political movements in the U.S.:
Between May and August, America Walks supporters submitted over 2,700
comments to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA), in support of two proposals to make vehicles safer for
pedestrians. Now the ball is in NHTSA’s court to take action, improve
these rules, and finalize them as quickly as possible.
Here’s the scoop on both proposals and what’s next.
Dangerous vehicles shouldn’t get 5-star safety ratings
Pedestrian deaths on our roads are at a forty-year high in the United
States and larger unsafe cars and trucks contribute significantly to
this crisis. The number of pedestrians killed by pickup trucks, sport
utility vehicles (SUVs), vans, and minivans has more than doubled
between 2010 and 2021.
In response, NHTSA asked for comments on how to rate cars based on
safety for pedestrians through its New Car Assessment Program (NCAP),
the five-star safety rating program advertised to consumers.
But the agency’s proposal didn’t go nearly far enough. Under its
proposal, a vehicle could receive a failing grade for pedestrian
crashworthiness, but still earn an overall five-star safety rating,
misrepresenting a vehicle as safe when it is not. In addition, the
proposal failed to evaluate limited driver visibility, a known safety
flaw for larger vehicles, and wouldn’t display pedestrian
crashworthiness ratings at the point of sale, where most consumers
would see them.
Such a program is sorely needed and long overdue, but it’s imperative
to get it right.
That’s why we and our supporters told NHTSA that evaluations should be
held to the highest standards and include driver visibility. We also
called for the results from pedestrian crashworthiness evaluations to
be incorporated directly in NCAP’s star rating system and that they’re
visible to the consumer at the point of sale.
Finally, we also asked NHTSA to commit to including standards and
technologies that protect people outside cars in an updated Federal
Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), the standards that are
mandatory in all vehicles.
Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking close to being required in cars
In 2022, thousands of Americans voiced their support for increased
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards during NHTSA’s Request for
Comments on its safety rating system – the New Car Assessment Program.
A year later, NHTSA proposed a rule to require all new cars, SUVs, and
pickup trucks to have Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking (PAEB)
three years after the rule was finalized. Significantly, this rule is
close to the finish line, with only two steps remaining before it is
PAEB detects pedestrians and applies the brakes before hitting
someone. This technology isn’t new. It’s been around for years and
government vehicle safety programs across the globe already include
America Walks has long called for mature safety technologies like PAEB
to be incorporated directly into the required FMVSS that apply to all
new vehicles. We applaud NHTSA for taking this action and ask the
agency to hold automakers to the highest possible standards of PAEB.
The technology deployed should be able to detect everyone on the road
outside of a vehicle, including children, people with dark skin tones,
and people using bikes and mobility devices.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the chief regulator of vehicle safety in the United States and its agenda also does not include special licenses for large consumer truck drivers.
There are occasional grumblings that vehicles that can be driven non-commercially without a commercial driver's license (CDL) require a CDL to drive commercially. But, for those most part, the folks concerned about this fact want to reduce the scope of vehicles for which a CDL is required, rather than require a special license for driver's of large consumer vehicles that don't require a CDL.