Wyoming lawmakers advance autonomous vehicle legislation
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Lawmakers in Wyoming have advanced a bill that would establish a regulatory framework for producers of self-driving cars and other autonomous vehicles to begin testing on roadways across the state.
The Joint Committee on Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs passed the bill on Tuesday, the Casper Star-Tribune reported Tuesday.
It will head to the Legislature, where if it’s approved, Wyoming would become the 30th state to enact some form of autonomous vehicle regulation.
“I think this bill is ready for prime time,” committee chair and Republican state Sen. Michael Von Flatern said.
The public perception and comfort level associated with the vehicles could have been an obstacle for policymakers in passing legislation, said Jesse Kirchmeier, emergency response planner for the Wyoming Department of Transportation.
Highway Patrol administrator Kebin Haller said many of the concerns have already been addressed by industry leaders such as Tesla working closely with law enforcement in regulating the vehicles.
The Legislature’s Select Committee on Blockchain, Financial Technology and Digital Innovation Technology initially introduced the bill, designed to balance the flexibility to test and develop vehicles and the regulation necessary to ensure public safety.
Republican state Rep. Joe McGuire proposed an amendment to transition the draft legislation into a two-year study on the use of autonomous vehicles. The move would have forced the Legislature to revisit its autonomous vehicle regulations after those two years were up.
Some lawmakers opposed those changes, arguing they did not want to interfere with regulatory certainty for autonomous vehicle manufacturers as they made headway in the state.