AUTOMATED VEHICLES: New law allows driverless vehicles on Texas roads

Gov. Abbott signed a bill that explicitly allows autonomous vehicles to operate on Texas roads without a driver inside

Law News June 27, 2017
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Gov. Abbott signed a bill that explicitly allows autonomous vehicles to operate on Texas roads without a driver inside

Gov. Greg Abbott recently signed a bill that allows the testing of self-driving cars on Texas roads and highways without a driver behind the wheel.


There was nothing in existing law that banned autonomous vehicles from Texas roads. Google has been testing them since 2015 in Austin, and Arlington is rolling them out. In addition, several Texas sites were chosen by the U.S. Department of Transportation to test the technology in closed-course settings. Yet because state statutes did not address the emerging technology at all, some manufacturers have told state officials they were wary about testing vehicles alongside street and highway traffic in Texas.


Senate Bill 2205 requires that driverless vehicles used on highways be capable of complying with all traffic laws, be equipped with video recording devices and be insured just like other cars. It also makes the manufacturer responsible for any broken traffic laws or car wrecks, as long as the automated driving system has not been modified by anyone else.


Texas is now among 18 states that have passed bills related to autonomous vehicles. It is among three states that have done so in recent months. Many manufacturers, including General Motors and Toyota, backed the bill.


Lawmakers and experts said the technology has the potential to dramatically reduce road fatalities and provide a new transportation option to disabled Texans.



Source: The Texas Tribune

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