Automated Driving: Legislative and Regulatory Action
This page tracks legislative and regulatory developments related to automated driving, automatic driving, autonomous driving, self-driving vehicles, and driverless cars. It was started by Bryant Walker Smith (publications and Twitter), is maintained by Gabriel Weiner, and should be cited as:
Gabriel Weiner and Bryant Walker Smith, Automated Driving: Legislative and Regulatory Action, cyberlaw.stanford.edu/wiki/index.php/Automated_Driving:_Legislative_and_Regulatory_Action
For analysis of the current legal status of so-called autonomous cars in these and other states, please see Automated Vehicles Are Probably Legal in the United States. That report also contains draft model language.
International Law (Treaties)
Proposed amendment of the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic: http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/trans/doc/2014/wp1/ECE-TRANS-WP1-145e.pdf.
For discussion of the 1949 Geneva and 1968 Vienna Conventions on Road Traffic, please see Automated Vehicles Are Probably Legal in the United States.
Planned discussion of international regulatory steps: http://www.unece.org/info/media/presscurrent-press-h/transport/2015/unece-to-discuss-first-international-regulatory-steps-concerning-automated-driving/unece-to-discuss-first-international-regulatory-steps-concerning-automated-driving.html.
Federal Regulatory Guidance
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its Preliminary Statement of Policy Concerning Automated Vehicles on May 30, 2013.
On February 4, 2016, NHTSA responded to a request from Google, Inc. to interpret several provisions in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards as they apply to Google's described design for vehicles Google is developing and testing.
|HR 3876||Autonomous Vehicle Privacy Protection Act of 2015||2015-11-02||2015-11-03||Committee|
|HR 22||Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act||2015-01-06||2015-12-04||Enacted|
Legislatures in the following states are considering or have considered bills related to automated driving.
|California||AB 2682||2016-02-19||2016-08-16||Committee||Requires CA DMV, upon the development of a model state policy on autonomous vehicles by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, to hold public hearings on the model policy and consider, to the extent authorized by other law, conforming DMV regulations with that policy.|
|California||SB 431||2015-02-25||2015-05-14||Passed Senate||Amends existing law on following distance to allow for driver-assistive truck platooning.|
|Michigan||SB 995||2016-05-25||2016-09-20||Second Reading||See comments.|
|Michigan||SB 996||2016-05-25||2016-09-20||Second Reading||See comments.|
|Michigan||SB 997||2016-05-25||2016-09-20||Second Reading||See comments.|
|Michigan||SB 998||2016-05-25||2016-09-20||Second Reading||See comments.|
|Michigan||SB 927||2016-04-28||2016-04-28||Committee||See comments.|
|New Jersey||A3745||2016-05-19||2016-05-19||Committee||Permits testing of autonomous vehicles under certain circumstances.|
|New Jersey||A851||2016-01-27||2016-01-27||Committee||Directs MVC to establish driver's license endorsement for autonomous vehicles.|
|New Jersey||S343||2016-01-12||2016-01-12||Committee||Defines "artificial intelligence," "autonomous mode," "autonomous vehicle," and "sensors," directs state MVC to establish a driver's license endorsement for the operation of autonomous vehicles, and directs the head of the state MVC to adopt regulations authorizing the operation of autonomous vehicles.|
|New York||S7879||2016-05-19||2016-05-24||Passed Senate|
|North Carolina||HB 782||2015-03-26||2015-04-15||Committee||Directs DMV to study the potential implementation of "autonomous vehicle technology" on state roads.|
|California||AB 1592||2016-01-06||2016-09-29||Enacted||Authorizes the Contra Costa Transportation Authority to conduct a pilot project testing autonomous vehicles not equipped with steering wheels, brake pedals, accelerators, or operators inside, at specified locations and speeds under 35 miles per hour.|
|California||SB 1298||2012-02-23||2012-09-25||Enacted||As amended, defines "autonomous technology," "autonomous vehicle," and "operator"; finds that the state "presently does not prohibit or specifically regulate the operation of autonomous vehicles"; requires rulemaking before 2015; permits current operation under certain conditions; imposes additional oversight on the operation of vehicles without a human in the driver's seat; and requires that the "manufacturer of the autonomous technology installed on a vehicle shall provide a written disclosure to the purchaser of an autonomous vehicle that describes what information is collected by the autonomous technology equipped on the vehicle." Recent amendment struck previous language stating "the intent of the Legislature that current law governing the conversion of vehicles originally manufactured by a third party shall control issues of liability arising from the operation of the autonomous vehicle if that vehicle was converted by an autonomous technology manufacturer."|
|District of Columbia||B19-0931||2012-09-19||2013-01-23||Enacted||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. Final version removed previous provisions requiring autonomous vehicles to operate on alternative fuels and imposing a vehicle-miles-traveled tax in lieu of DC motor fuel tax. Passed Congressional review (April 2013).|
|Florida||CS/HB 1207||2012-01-04||2012-04-16||Enacted||As wholly amended, defines "autonomous technology" and "autonomous vehicle," "finds that the state does not prohibit or specifically regulate the testing or operation of autonomous technology in motor vehicles on public roads," specifies that "[a] person who possesses a valid driver license may operate an autonomous vehicle in autonomous mode," addresses liability of the original manufacturer of a vehicle on which a third party has installed autonomous technology, establishes certain conditions under which an autonomous vehicle may be tested, and directs state DHSMV to prepare specific report for the legislature by February 2014. See more.|
|Florida||SB 52||2012-11-19||2013-05-29||Enacted||Bans texting but exempts operators of autonomous vehicles operating in autonomous mode.|
|Louisiana||HB 1143||2016-03-01||2016-06-02||Enacted||Defines "autonomous technology" for purposes of the Highway Regulatory Act.|
|Michigan||SB 0169||2013-02-07||2013-12-26||Enacted||Defines "automated technology," "automated vehicle," "automated mode," "upfitter," 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 SOS to submit report by February 1, 2016.|
|Michigan||SB 0663||2013-11-06||2013-12-27||Enacted||Declares that the original manufacturer of a vehicle is not liable for damages resulting from another person's conversion or attempted conversion of the vehicle into an automated motor vehicle, or the modification of installed equipment, unless the defect from which the damages resulted was present in the vehicle when it was manufactured. Similarly addresses liability of subcomponent system producers for equipment installed by those producers to convert vehicles into automated motor vehicles.|
|Nevada||AB 511||2011-03-28||2011-06-17||Enacted||Defines "autonomous vehicle" and directs state DMV to adopt rules for license endorsement and for operation, including insurance, safety standards, and testing.|
|Nevada||SB 140||2011-02-10||2011-06-17||Enacted||Permits the use of handheld wireless communications devices in vehicles that are lawfully operating autonomously.|
|Nevada||SB 313||2013-03-20||2013-06-02||Enacted||Amends Nevada's autonomous driving statute to, inter alia, (1) incorporate and potentially modify certain rules promulgated by the DMV, (2) addresses liability of the original manufacturer of a vehicle on which a third party has installed autonomous technology, and (3) add "except in case of emergency" to the statement "that a person is not required to actively drive an autonomous vehicle."|
|North Dakota||HB1065||2015-01-06||2015-03-26||Enacted||Establishes a legislative management study of automated vehicles.|
|Tennessee||HB 616||2015-02-10||2015-05-06||Enacted||Prohibits local governments from prohibiting the use of a vehicle solely on the basis of it being equipped with autonomous technology if the vehicle otherwise complies with applicable safety regulations, defines "autonomous technology" as technology "that has the capability to drive [a] motor vehicle without the active physical control or monitoring by a human operator."|
|Utah||HB 373||2015-02-20||2015-03-27||Enacted||Authorizes the department of transportation to conduct a connected vehicle testing program.|
Bill status at conclusion of legislative session.
|Arizona||HB 2679||2012-01-30||2012-02-09||Failed Transportation Committee||Defines "autonomous vehicle" and directs state DOT to adopt rules for license endorsement and for operation, including insurance, safety standards, and testing.|
|Arizona||HB 2167||2013-01-23||2013-01-31||Committee||Similar to Florida's statute. DOT report due by April 1, 2015.|
|California||AB 1164||2015-02-27||2015-07-16||Amends existing law addressing autonomous vehicles.|
|California||AB 2258||2014-02-21||2014-04-28||Committee||Authorizes the City of Lancaster to research and develop autonomous public buses.|
|Colorado||SB 13-016||2013-01-09||2013-02-05||Indefinitely Postponed||Defines "drive" and redefines "driver" in the vehicle code, establishes conditions under which a "person may use a guidance system to drive a motor vehicle," permits the use of a wireless telephone when using such a guidance system, provides that "[t]he driver is responsible for any damage caused by a motor vehicle being driven by means of a guidance system to the same degree as if the driver were manually driving the vehicle," eliminates following distance restrictions for a vehicle being so driven, and directs the "department" [of revenue or of transportation?] and the state patrol to submit a joint report by August 30, 2018.|
|Connecticut||HB 6344||2015-01-22||2015-02-05||Committee||Expressly allows for use of autonomous vehicles for testing purposes, directs department of motor vehicles to promulgate regulations concerning autonomous vehicles.|
|Florida||SB 1768||2012-01-06||2012-03-09||Tabled for CS/HB 1207*||Amended with the text of, and laid on table in favor of, CS/HB 1207.|
|Georgia||HR 1265||2014-02-06||2014-03-18||Passed||Establishes a Georgia House study committee on autonomous vehicle technology.|
|Georgia||SB 369||2014-02-07||2014-02-26||Second Reading|
|Hawaii||HB 1458||2015-01-29||2015-02-09||Committee Recommendation to Defer|
|Hawaii||HB 1461||2013-01-24||2013-12-18||Committee||Seeks to "authorize, for testing purposes, the operation of autonomous vehicles," defines "autonomous technology," "autonomous vehicle," "guided operator" (for testing purposes), and "manufacturer," requires manufacturers to apply before testing autonomous vehicles on public roads, establishes conditions for testing, establishes certain offenses, establishes conditions for operating autonomous vehicles, addresses liability of the original manufacturer of a vehicle on which a third party has installed autonomous technology, exempts a nonreckless guided operator from liability, and instructs the department of motor vehicles to (1) issue rules for testing by January 2, 2015 and (2) provide an annual report to the legislature.|
|Hawaii||HB 2238||2012-01-23||2012-03-01||Substituted*||Amended to the exclusion of all autonomous driving provisions (which previously defined "autonomous motor vehicle" and directed state transportation director to adopt rules for license endorsement and for operation, including insurance, safety standards, and testing). See also HR 163/HCR 212 below:|
|Hawaii||HR 163||2012-03-14||2012-03-30||Committee*||Asks state DOT to review law and policy related to "driverless cars" and directs it to provide findings and legislative suggestions by 2013. Note that "HCR" is a House Concurrent Resolution.|
|Idaho||S 1108||2015-02-25||2015-03-13||Passed Senate|
|Louisiana||HB 937||2014-02-28||2014-03-24||Committee||Authorizes the operation of autonomous motor vehicles.|
|Louisiana||HB 938||2014-02-28||2014-03-24||Committee||Authorizes the research and testing of autonomous vehicles.|
|Maryland||SB 126||2016-01-15||2016-02-08||Unfavorable Report from Committee||Establishes a task force to study issues related to "self-driving vehicles" with a report due to the governor and general assembly on or before January 1, 2018.|
|Maryland||HB 172||2015-01-29||2015-03-26||Unfavorable Report from Committee||Establishes a task force to study issues related to "self-driving vehicles" with a report due to the governor and general assembly on or before January 2017.|
|Maryland||HB 538||2014-01-29||2014-03-10||Unfavorable Report from Committee||Establishes a task force to study issues related to "self-driving vehicles" with a report due to the governor and general assembly on or before January 2017.|
|Massachusetts||HB 3369||2013-01-22||2014-09-08||Committee||Nearly identical to Florida's statute (with report due by February 2015).|
|Minnesota||HF 1416||2013-03-14||2013-03-14||Committee||Directs the commissioner of transportation to "evaluate policies and develop a proposal for legislation governing regulation of autonomous vehicles" by January 31, 2014.|
|New Hampshire||HB 444||2013-01-03||2013-03-28||Inexpedient to Legislate||Establishes a committee of legislators "to study the use of autonomous vehicles in New Hampshire" and instructs the committee to deliver a report by November 1, 2013.|
|New Jersey||S734||2014-01-14||2015-01-12||Committee||Defines "artificial intelligence," "autonomous mode," "autonomous vehicle," and "sensors," directs state MVC to establish a driver's license endorsement for the operation of autonomous vehicles, and directs the head of the state MVC to adopt regulations authorizing the operation of autonomous vehicles.|
|New Jersey||A2757||2012-05-10||2012-05-10||Committee*||Defines "autonomous vehicle" and directs state MVC to adopt rules for license endorsement and for operation, including insurance, safety standards, and testing. Identical to NJ A3020.|
|New Jersey||A3020||2012-06-07||2012-06-07||Committee*||Defines "autonomous vehicle" and directs state MVC to adopt rules for license endorsement and for operation, including insurance, safety standards, and testing. Identical to NJ A2757.|
|New York||S4912||2013-05-01||2014-05-02||Committee||Defines "autonomous vehicles," establishes general requirements for autonomous vehicles, expressly permits their operation and testing under certain conditions, addresses liability of the original manufacturer of a vehicle converted by a third party into an autonomous vehicle, and directs the commissioner of motor vehicles to study the operation and testing of autonomous vehicles and report his or her findings, including recommendations and legislative proposals, by February 12, 2015.|
|North Carolina||SB 600||2015-03-26||2016-06-30||Committee||Directs DMV to study the potential implementation of "autonomous vehicle technology" on state roads.|
|Oklahoma||HB 3007||2012-01-19||2012-02-07||Committee*||Defines "autonomous vehicle" and directs state DPS to to adopt rules for license endorsement and for operation, including insurance, safety standards, and testing.|
|Oregon||SB620||2015-02-10||2015-07-06||Committee||Defines "autonomous system," "autonomous vehicle," and "manufacturer," establishes certification for testing and selling of autonomous vehicles, directs the department of transportation to adopt rules for testing, establishes requirements for testing and operation, including data recording and disclosure, addresses liability of the original manufacturer of a vehicle on which a third party has installed an autonomous system.|
|Oregon||HB 2428||2013-01-14||2013-04-17||Committee||Defines "autonomous system," "autonomous vehicle," and "manufacturer," establishes application procedure and conditions for testing of autonomous vehicles, directs the department of motor vehicles to adopt rules for testing, establishes requirements (similar to California's) for data recording and disclosure, addresses liability of the original manufacturer of a vehicle on which a third party has installed an autonomous system.|
|South Carolina||HB 4621||2014-02-06||2014-02-06||Committee|
|South Carolina||HB 4015||2013-04-24||2013-04-24||Committee||Defines "autonomous technology," "autonomous vehicle," "operator," and "manufacturer," expressly permits testing of autonomous vehicles under specified conditions by certain parties, requires manufacturers to apply to and receive approval from the state DMV before operating autonomous vehicles on public highways, establishes minimum manufacturer certifications for approval, establishes requirements for data recording and disclosure, and directs the state DMV to adopt regulations by January 1, 2015.|
|South Dakota||SB 139||2014-01-31||2014-02-21||Tabled|
|Texas||HB 2932||2013-03-07||2013-03-19||Committee||Defines "autonomous motor vehicle," "autonomous technology," and "operator," requires operator to be licensed, and directs the "department" to "adopt rules authorizing" and regulating "the operation of autonomous motor vehicles."|
|Washington||HB 1439||2013-01-28||2014-01-13||Committee||Defines "autonomous vehicle" and "manufacturer of an autonomous vehicle," requires certification of vehicles for testing, directs the state patrol to adopt rules for such testing, including the rule that a "licensed driver is legally responsible for the autonomous vehicle for traffic infractions and criminal offenses in the same manner as a driver of a nonautonomous vehicle," and "does not prohibit ... operation and testing" before the adoption of those rules.|
|Washington||HB 1649||2013-02-04||2014-01-13||Committee||Defines "autonomous technology," establishes requirements for testing, establishes general requirements for vehicles controlled by autonomous technology, and directs the department of licensing to "review statutes and rules regarding autonomous vehicles and report ... on June 30, 2026."|
|Wisconsin||SB 80||2013-03-13||2013-04-8||Committee||Defines "autonomous vehicle," "autonomous technology," and "autonomous mode," specifies certain conditions for the testing and operation of such vehicles (including the presence of a human operator), and contemplates rulemaking by the state DOT.|
State Executive Orders
|Arizona||2015-09||2015-08-25||Directs state agencies to act to support the testing and operation of automated vehicles on public roads, authorizes university pilot programs, and establishes an oversight committee.|
Administrative agencies in the following states are considering or have considered regulations related to automated driving.
|California||Department of Motor Vehicles||2015-12-16||Regulations proposed November 29, 2013. Modification to proposed regulations proposed March 6, 2014. Regulations for testing by manufacturers on public roadways adopted May 19, 2014, effective September 16, 2014. Draft deployment regulations were issued December 16, 2015. Public workshops are scheduled for January 28, 2016 and February 2, 2016.||See California DMV's autonomous vehicles regulations website.|
|District of Columbia||Department of Motor Vehicles||2014-04-04||Regulations proposed April 4, 2014. Final rulemaking action to adopt rules possible beginning May 4, 2014.|
|Nevada||Department of Motor Vehicles||R084-11||2012-03-01||Regulation took effect on March 1, 2012.||Further defines "autonomous vehicle," establishes a special driver's license endorsement, and specifies requirements for testing, certification, operation, and safety. See Nevada DMV's autonomous vehicles website.|
State Legislative Process
How an (Autonomous Driving) Bill Becomes Law (Video). An Oral History of Nevada's Groundbreaking Regulation of Self-Driving Vehicles. The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. November 8, 2012.
How Autonomous Vehicles Will Shape the Future of Surface Transportation (Video and Text). Hearing examining impact of automated vehicle technology on federal policy. U.S. House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. November 19, 2013.
Be advised that this wiki offers no advice. Do not presume its factual or legal accuracy.
- http://www.nhtsa.gov/staticfiles/rulemaking/pdf/Automated_Vehicles_Policy.pdf. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. May 30, 2013. See also http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/U.S.+Department+of+Transportation+Releases+Policy+on+Automated+Vehicle+Development. "U.S. Department of Transportation Releases Policy on Automated Vehicle Development." National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. May 30, 2013.
- http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/dot-initiatives-accelerating-vehicle-safety-innovations-01142016. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. January 14, 2016.
- http://www.nhtsa.gov/staticfiles/rulemaking/pdf/Autonomous-Vehicles-Policy-Update-2016.pdf. DOT/NHTSA POLICY STATEMENT CONCERNING AUTOMATED VEHICLES. 2016 UPDATE to “PRELIMINARY STATEMENT OF POLICY CONCERNING AUTOMATED VEHICLES”. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. January 14, 2016.
- http://isearch.nhtsa.gov/files/Google%20--%20compiled%20response%20to%2012%20Nov%20%2015%20interp%20request%20--%204%20Feb%2016%20final.htm. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. February 4, 2016.
- https://www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/docs/AV%20policy%20guidance%20PDF.pdf. Federal Automated Vehicles Policy. U.S. Department of Transportation. September 20, 2016.
- http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/blog/2016/09/us-department-transportations-automated-driving-guidance. US Department of Transportation's Automated Driving Guidance. Bryant Walker Smith. September 19, 2016.
- In New Hampshire, "a bill is considered killed when the House or Senate votes to adopt the committee report of 'Inexpedient to legislate.'" http://www.nh.gov/nhinfo/bills.html. New Hampshire Almanac, New Hampshire State Library. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
- http://apps.dmv.ca.gov/about/lad/pdfs/auto_veh2/express_terms.pdf. Express Terms, Title 13, Division 1, Chapter 1, Article 3.7. California DMV. November 29, 2013.
- http://apps.dmv.ca.gov/about/lad/pdfs/auto_veh2/amend_express_terms.pdf. Amended Express Terms, Title 13, Division 1, Chapter 1, Article 3.7. California DMV. March 6, 2014.
- http://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/wcm/connect/d48f347b-8815-458e-9df2-5ded9f208e9e/adopted_txt.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CONVERT_TO=url&CACHEID=d48f347b-8815-458e-9df2-5ded9f208e9e. Order to Adopt, Title 13, Division 1, Chapter 1, Article 3.7. California DMV. May 19, 2014.
- https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/wcm/connect/ed6f78fe-fe38-4100-b5c2-1656f555e841/AVExpressTerms.pdf?MOD=AJPERES. Draft Express Terms, Title 13, Division 1, Chapter 1, Article 3.7. California DMV. December 16, 2015.
- http://dcist.com/2014/04/dc_preparing_for_terrifying_future.php. D.C. Prepares For Terrifying Future Of Self-Driving Cars. April 7, 2014.
- Some states have adopted carryover provisions such that bills left pending at the end of one legislative session can carry over into the next session.