Today: Colorado Senate Considers Law Allowing Driverless Cars
The Colorado Senate is considering enacting a law to allow driverless cars on roads in the state, Kristen Wyatt reports for Associated Press in an article in The Denver Post. The Senate’s first debate on the proposal is taking place today [Tuesday] in the Senate Transportation Committee, Wyatt writes. If Senate Bill 16 becomes law, Colorado will be “at least” the fifth state where self-driving cars are legal, she notes.
The driverless cars are being developed in California by Google. Colorado’s proposal would state that automated cars must still contain licensed drivers, and the cars must have an override switch so they can be driven manually if needed. The ‘drivers’ in automated cars would be allowed to text or type, hands off the wheel and feet off the pedals.
“I just love this kind of technology and want to make sure we encourage this kind of innovation,” said the bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Greg Brophy, of Wray, according to Wyatt.
Brophy told Associated Press that he envisions a day when the law does not require people to be behind the wheel of autonomous cars. “Wouldn’t it be cool if you could send your car to school to pick up your kid when he’s sick and you can’t get out?” Brophy asked. Because not everyone would be comfortable with a law that allowed driverless cars to be on the roads without humans in them, Brophy told AP that the Senate will begin by taking “small steps.”
As this blog has reported, Brophy has said he has not been lobbied by Google, which has been testing its autonomous car in California and Nevada, two of the states that allow such vehicles on the roads. The bill the Senate is considering today would hold the human in a driverless vehicle responsible for any damage the vehicle itself caused, to the same degree as if the driver were manually at the controls, this blog wrote.
Self-driving vehicles use video cameras, radio sensors, and a laser range finder in order to “see” other traffic, columnist Vincent Carroll wrote in an opinion piece in The Denver Post, as this blog noted.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Administrator David Strickland has said that human error was a factor in about 90% of the more than 33,000 traffic deaths recorded in 2010, and that self-driving cars can save thousands and thousands of lives over time as self-driving cars replace manually driven cars on the roads, as this blog wrote in the post “U.S. Moving Towards Setting Performance Standards for Driverless Cars.”
You can see Bill 16 here.
Image by Sam Churchill.