New California law aims to stop robotaxis from dodging traffic tickets

That's no secret legislation tends to lag behind technological and social progress, but as technology advances faster than ever before, Legislation must react more quickly. Autonomous vehicles were on California roads for years, but only California law allows motorists to enforce traffic violations. Since autonomous vehicles They have no driver, they are not subject to traffic control, but two California Bills aimed at changing those passed the state Assembly Transportation Committee earlier this week.

The two bills cover different aspects autonomous vehicle Legislation. Senator Dave Cortese's bill SB-915 authorizes Cities in California to write their own individual regulations autonomous vehicles, and Assemblyman Phil Ting's AB-1777 aims to hold self-driving car manufacturers liable for traffic violations their cars commit on California roads. Not surprisingly, the Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association, which represents most major autonomous vehicle manufacturers, opposes both bills intended to hold its members accountable for the actions of their products. NBC Bay Area reports,

The Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association, which represents major self-driving car makers like Waymo and Cruise, opposes both bills, arguing that Cortese's attempts to allow cities to write their own laws could lead to a chaotic hodgepodge of regulations across the state , which could slow down innovation.

“Regulatory certainty is critical to enabling companies to devote the type of resources they need to deploy at scale,” said Renée Gibson, the association’s director of government affairs. “So when you have the opportunity for hundreds of local jurisdictions to enact their own regulations, you end up with a patchwork quilt [regulations] and that creates an incredible amount of uncertainty.”

Cortese argues that he doesn't understand why the prospect of having to program the cars to follow different rules in different cities is such, since self-driving cars have long argued that their technology is superior to even human drivers and appeals to everyone Adapting to possible scenarios could be too problematic.

“How do taxis and ride-sharing services fare with human drivers?” he said. “Supposedly this wealth of intelligence built into the computer chip and coding won’t be able to do the same? You can’t have it both ways.”

Each of these proposed bills must still be approved by the respective budget committees in the Assembly and Senate, and if they pass, there will be a full vote later this summer. For me it is shocking and downright reckless that autonomous vehicles exist Operation without real consequences for breaking laws for which people are punished. Examples of violations that self-driving cars are currently exempt from include running red lights, turning illegally, and all other traffic violations. If the bills are approved, the new laws would come into effect on July 1, 2026.

Anna Harden

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