DRIVERLESS-CAR BILL MOTORS PAST SENATE ON ROAD TO HOUSE
Colorado’s first proposed law to regulate driverless cars received the Senate’s approval Wednesday and now will wind its way to the House for consideration.
As sponsors for Senate Bill 213 have said, the proposed rules are just a framework to establish Colorado as a welcome ground for those testing technology and cars that will drive themselves.
“This bill is not meant to be a comprehensive,” said Sen. Dominick Moreno, a Commerce City Democrat, who sponsored the bill with Sen. Owen Hill, a Colorado Springs Republican. “The reason it is not is because the technology is still being tested and we want to be one of the leaders to bring this innovation to the state.”
The bill, approved 22-13, would allow autonomous vehicles on Colorado roads as long as they comply with state and federal laws. If they don’t, operators must coordinate testing with the Colorado Department of Transportation and Colorado State Patrol. The bill also precludes local municipalities from adopting their own rules. Currently, there are no state laws regulating driverless vehicles.
But creating just a guideline wasn’t enough for the 13 senators who voted against the bill. That included all Democrats and one Republican, Sen. Don Coram from Montrose.
Sen. Michael Merrifield, a Democrat from Colorado Springs, was disappointed that the bill didn’t include any safety guidelines that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recommended, including requiring deployed vehicles to be registered and dealing with liability and insurance.
“We’re putting people’s safety on the highway at risk,” Merrifield said. “We should have rules. We shouldn’t be laissez-faire. This is an unregulated guideline.”