Roundup: State Legislation on Automated Driving

In an effort to advance automated driving, states have been introducing and passing legislation to promote the testing and research of automated technologies. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), in 2017, 32 states introduced bills relating to automated driving, many of which set to define what is considered an automated vehicle, and the laws vehicles under this definition must follow.

Nevada was the first state to pass legislation regarding automated driving in June 2011. Since then, other states have introduced legislation that clarifies what is expected of drivers of automated vehicles, and authorizing the testing of automated cars on public roads.

For a full list of state legislation, see the chart below created by the NCSL.

State Bill Number Relevant Provisions Effective Date
Alabama SJR 81 (2016) Established the Joint Legislative Committee to study self-driving vehicles. Enacted and chaptered on May 10, 2016.
Arkansas HB 1754 (2017) Regulates the testing of vehicles with autonomous technology, relates to vehicles equipped with driver-assistive truck platooning systems. Enacted and chaptered on April 1, 2017.
California SB 1298 (2012) Requires the Department of the California Highway Patrol to adopt safety standards and performance requirements to ensure the safe operation and testing of autonomous vehicles, as defined, on the public roads in this state. Permits autonomous vehicles to be operated or tested on the public roads in this state pending the adoption of safety standards and performance requirements that would be adopted under this bill. Enacted and chaptered on Sept. 25, 2012.
California AB 1592 (2016) Authorizes the Contra Costa Transportation Authority to conduct a pilot project for the testing of autonomous vehicles that are not equipped with a steering wheel, a brake pedal, an accelerator, or an operator inside the vehicle, if the testing is conducted only at specified locations and the autonomous vehicle operates at specified speeds. Enacted and chaptered on Sept. 29, 2016.
Florida HB 1207 (2012) Defines “autonomous vehicle” and “autonomous technology.” Declares legislative intent to encourage the safe development, testing and operation of motor vehicles with autonomous technology on public roads of the state and finds that the state does not prohibit or specifically regulate the testing or operation of autonomous technology in motor vehicles on public roads. Authorizes a person who possesses a valid driver’s license to operate an autonomous vehicle, specifying that the person who causes the vehicle’s autonomous technology to engage is the operator. Authorizes the operation of autonomous vehicles by certain persons for testing purposes under certain conditions and requires an instrument of insurance, surety bond or self-insurance prior to the testing of a vehicle. Directs the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to prepare a report recommending additional legislative or regulatory action that may be required for the safe testing and operation of vehicles equipped with autonomous technology, to be submitted no later than Feb. 12, 2014. Enacted and chaptered on April 16, 2012.
Florida HB 599 (2012) The relevant portions of this bill are identical to the substitute version of HB 1207. Enacted and chaptered on April 29, 2012.
Florida HB 7027 (2016) Permits operation of autonomous vehicles on public roads by individuals with a valid driver license. This bill eliminates the requirement that the vehicle operation is being done for testing purposes and removes a number of provisions related to vehicle operation for testing purposes. Eliminates the requirement that a driver be present in the vehicle. Requires autonomous vehicles meet applicable federal safety standards and regulations. Enacted and chaptered on April 4, 2016.
Florida HB 7061 (2016) Defines autonomous technology and driver-assistive truck platooning technology. Requires a study on the use and safe operation of driver-assistive truck platooning technology and allows for a pilot project upon conclusion of the study. Enacted and chaptered on Apr. 14, 2016.
Louisiana HB 1143 (2016) Defines “autonomous technology” for purposes of the Highway Regulatory Act. Enacted and chaptered on June 2, 2016.
Michigan SB 995 (2016) Allows for autonomous vehicles under certain conditions. Allows operation without a person in the autonomous vehicle. Specifies that the requirement that commercial vehicles maintain a minimum following distance of 500 feet does not apply to vehicles in a platoon. Enacted and chaptered on Dec. 9, 2016.
Michigan SB 996 (2016) Allows for autonomous vehicles under certain conditions. Allows operation without a person in the autonomous vehicle. Enacted and chaptered on Dec. 9, 2016.
Michigan SB 997 (2016) Defines automated driving system. Allows for the creation of mobility research centers where automated technology can be tested. Provides immunity for automated technology manufacturers when modifications are made without the manufacturer’s consent. Enacted and chaptered on Dec. 9, 2016.
Michigan SB 998 (2016) Exempts mechanics and repair shops from liability on fixing automated vehicles. Enacted and chaptered on Dec. 9, 2016.
Michigan SB 169 (2013) Defines “automated technology,” “automated vehicle,” “automated mode,” expressly permits testing of automated vehicles by certain parties under certain conditions, defines operator, addresses liability of the original manufacturer of a vehicle on which a third party has installed an automated system, directs state DOT with Secretary of State to submit report by Feb. 1, 2016. Enacted and chaptered on Dec. 20, 2013.
Michigan SB 663 (2013) Limits liability of vehicle manufacturer or upfitter for damages in a product liability suit resulting from modifications made by a third party to an automated vehicle or automated vehicle technology under certain circumstances; relates to automated mode conversions. Enacted and chaptered on Dec. 26, 2013.
Nevada AB 511 (2011) Authorizes operation of autonomous vehicles and a driver’s license endorsement for operators of autonomous vehicles. Defines “autonomous vehicle” and directs state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to adopt rules for license endorsement and for operation, including insurance, safety standards and testing. Enacted and chaptered on June 17, 2011.
Nevada SB 140 (2011) Prohibits the use of cell phones or other handheld wireless communications devices while driving in certain circumstances, and makes it a crime to text or read data on a cellular phone while driving. Permits use of such devices for persons in a legally operating autonomous vehicle. These persons are deemed not to be operating a motor vehicle for the purposes of this law. Enacted and chaptered on June 17, 2011.
Nevada SB 313 (2013) Relates to autonomous vehicles. Requires an autonomous vehicle that is being tested on a highway to meet certain conditions relating to a human operator. Requires proof of insurance;. Prohibits an autonomous vehicle from being registered in the state, or tested or operated on a highway within the state, unless it meets certain conditions. Provides that the manufacturer of a vehicle that has been converted to be an autonomous vehicle by a third party is immune from liability for certain injuries. Enacted and chaptered on June 2, 2013.
North Dakota HB 1065 (2015) Provides for a study of autonomous vehicles. Includes research into the degree that automated motor vehicles could reduce traffic fatalities and crashes by reducing or eliminating driver error and the degree that automated motor vehicles could reduce congestion and improve fuel economy. Enacted and chaptered on March 20, 2015.
North Dakota HB 1202 (2017) Requires the department of transportation to study the use of vehicles equipped with automated driving systems on the highways in this state and the data or information stored or gathered by the use of those vehicles. Also requires that the study include a review of current laws dealing with licensing, registration, insurance, data ownership and use, and inspection and how they should apply to vehicles equipped with automated driving systems. Effective Aug. 1, 2017.
Pennsylvania SB 1267 (2016) Allows the use of allocated funds, up to $40,000,000, for intelligent transportation system applications, such as autonomous and connected vehicle-related technology, in addition to other specified uses. Effective Sept. 19, 2016.
Tennessee SB 598 (2015) Relates to motor vehicles. Prohibits local governments from banning the use of motor vehicles equipped with autonomous technology. Enacted and chaptered on April 24, 2015.
Tennessee SB 2333 (2016) Allows a motor vehicle to be operated, or to be equipped with, an integrated electronic display visible to the operator while the motor vehicle’s autonomous technology is engaged. Enacted and chaptered on March 22, 2016.
Tennessee SB 1561 (2016) Redefines “autonomous technology” for purposes of preemption. Defines “driving mode” and “dynamic driving task.” Enacted and chaptered on April 27, 2016.
Utah HB 373 (2015) Authorizes the Department of Transportation to conduct a connected vehicle technology testing program. Enacted and chaptered on April 22, 2015.
Utah HB 280 (2016) Requires a study related to autonomous vehicles, including evaluating NHTSA and AAMVA standards and best practices, evaluating appropriate safety features and regulatory strategies and developing recommendations. Enacted and chaptered on March 23, 2016.
Virginia HB 454 (2016) Allows the viewing of a visual display while a vehicle is being operated autonomously. Enacted and chaptered on April 6, 2016.
Washington, D.C. 2012 DC B 19-0931 Defines “autonomous vehicle” as “a vehicle capable of navigating District roadways and interpreting traffic-control devices without a driver actively operating any of the vehicle’s control systems.” Requires a human driver “prepared to take control of the autonomous vehicle at any moment.” Restricts conversion to recent vehicles, and addresses liability of the original manufacturer of a converted vehicle. Enacted and effective from April 23, 2013.
ENACTED AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES LEGISLATION
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