As driverless cars come one step closer to legality, the Colorado Department of Transportation alludes it’s in favor of self-driving cars.
Colorado’s first proposed piece of legislation to regulate driverless cars has passed the Senate and is on its way to the House for consideration. The bill, while not intended to be a comprehensive regulation, simply welcomes those testing driverless technology to operate in Colorado.
The specifics of SB17-213 are as follows: autonomous vehicles may be permitted to operate on Colorado roads as long as they obey state and federal laws, and if they don’t they must coordinate testing with the Colorado Department of Transportation and the State Patrol.
CDOT has been known to cooperate with companies developing the technology like Otto, the company that tested the self driving semi-truck that made a beer run last fall. During the experiment, CDOT Executive director, Shailen Bhatt, was beaming:
It was completely flawless. It was one of the more exciting and boring things that I’ve ever done. I was in the 5th vehicle behind the truck and it’s just like watching any other semi going down the road, except this one stayed right in the middle of its lane the whole, the whole way down.”
However, some state Senators were more skeptical pointing out the impact this could have on truck drivers, taxi drivers, and those who make a living by driving. Additionally, Sen. Michael Merrifield (a Democrat from Colorado Springs) was concerned that the bill didn’t include the safety guidelines that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recommended.
“We should be getting into the nitty-gritty,” Merrifield told the Denver Post. “We’re putting people’s safety on the highway at risk. We should have rules. We shouldn’t be laissez-faire. This is an unregulated guideline.”
Other Senators are more welcoming to the technology, believing that driverless cars are the way of the future and somewhat inevitable.
“I have looked at the statistics and this is where the technology is taking us,” said Sen. Andy Kerr, a Democrat from Lakewood. “We are going to go down the road whether we agree with it or not.”
We’ll just have to see if the bill can navigate the House.
What are your thoughts? With all of our technical mountain driving, our traffic, and our weather, do you trust driverless cars? Or do you not? Let us know and why in the comments below!