PA 17-69—sSB 260
AN ACT CONCERNING AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES
SUMMARY: This act requires the Office of Policy and Management (OPM), in consultation with the departments of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Transportation (DOT), and Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP), to establish a pilot program to allow manufacturers, fleet service providers, and specified others to test fully autonomous vehicles (AVs) in up to four municipalities. It requires participating municipalities to enter into agreements with AV testers and establishes testing requirements.
It also establishes a 15-member task force to study AVs, develop legislative recommendations to regulate them, and evaluate the pilot program.
The act defines a number of terms related to AVs, much of which conform to SAE International's “Taxonomy and Definitions for Terms Related to Driving Automation Systems for On-Road Motor Vehicles” (SAE J3016). SAE International is an engineering professional organization that develops engineering standards. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has adopted the SAE definitions for use in its Federal Autonomous Vehicles Policy.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage
Under the act, a “fully autonomous vehicle” is a motor vehicle equipped with an “automated driving system” designed to function without an operator and classified as SAE level four or five. According to SAE's classification system, these AVs have the highest level of automation and can operate without the expectation of human intervention.
The act defines “automated driving system” (ADS) as hardware and software that collectively perform the entire “dynamic driving task” on a sustained basis, regardless of whether the ADS is limited to a specific “operational design domain.” “Dynamic driving task” means the real-time operational and tactical functions required while operating a vehicle on highways, excluding strategic functions such as trip scheduling and destination selection. “Operational design domain” means a description of the operating domains in which the ADS is designed to function, including geographic, roadway, environmental, and speed limitations.
Under the act, an “autonomous vehicle tester” is an AV manufacturer, higher education institution, fleet service provider, or automotive equipment or technology provider.
An “autonomous vehicle manufacturer” is a person or entity that (1) builds or sells AVs, (2) installs ADSs in motor vehicles not originally built as AVs, or (3) develops ADS in AVs or motor vehicles not originally built as AVs. A “fleet service provider” is a person or entity that owns or leases an AV and operates the AV for commercial or public use.
The act requires OPM, in consultation with DMV, DOT, and DESPP, to establish a pilot program to allow AV testers to test AVs in up to four municipalities. Municipalities must apply to the OPM secretary to participate in the program in a form and manner he prescribes. The secretary must select at least (1) one municipality with a population of between 120,000 and 124,000, as listed in the 2010 census (i.e., Stamford) and (2) a different municipality with a population of at least 100,000, as listed in the 2010 census.
The chief elected officer or executive official of each municipality selected by the OPM secretary must enter into an agreement with an AV tester or testers to test AVs on the municipality's highways. At a minimum, the agreement must:
1. specify the location and routes where AVs may operate;
2. prohibit AV operation outside of the listed routes, except in emergencies;
3. list each AV to be tested by vehicle identification number, make, year, and model; and
4. specify the AVs' hours of operation.
The act establishes requirements that AV testers and operators (i.e., the person sitting in an AV's driver's seat) must meet in order to test AVs.
Under the act, AV testers must (1) register with DMV each AV they plan to test and (2) submit to DMV proof of liability insurance, self-insurance, or surety bond of at least $5 million for personal injury, death, or property damage. An AV operator must hold a driver's license and be an employee, independent contractor, or other person designated and trained by the AV tester on the AV's capabilities and limitations. When testing AVs, the operator must (1) be seated in the AV's driver's seat, (2) monitor the AV's operation, and (3) be capable of taking immediate manual control of the AV. AV testers cannot test AVs on limited access highways.
The act also requires AV testers and operators to comply with (1) state and municipal motor vehicle laws; (2) NHTSAʼs AV standards; and (3) any other requirements deemed necessary for the safe operation of AVs by OPM, in consultation with DMV, DOT, and DESPP.
Under the act, the OPM secretary may immediately prohibit an operator or AV tester from testing AVs if he determines, in consultation with DMV, DOT, and DESPP, that the (1) testing poses a public safety risk or (2) operator or AV tester has not complied with the act or the pilot program's requirements.
The act requires participating AV testers to provide to the OPM secretary and the task force established by the act information that they deem appropriate to measure the pilot program's performance. AV testers may withhold commercially valuable, confidential, or proprietary information.
The OPM secretary must annually report to the Transportation Committee, starting by January 1, 2019, on the pilot program's implementation and progress.
The act creates a 15-member task force to study AVs. At a minimum, the task force must do the following:
1. evaluate NHTSA's standards on state responsibilities for regulating AVs;
2. evaluate other states' proposed or enacted laws, legislation, and regulations on AVs;
3. recommend how the state should regulate AVs through legislation and regulation; and
4. evaluate the pilot program established by the act.
The task force consists of 11 appointed members, one appointed by each of the top six legislative leaders; one each appointed by the Transportation Committee Senate chairperson, Transportation Committee House chairperson, and Transportation Committee ranking member; and two appointed by the governor. One of the governor's appointees must have AV expertise and one must have insurance expertise. Additionally, the DMV, DOT, and DESPP commissioners and the OPM secretary, or their designees, serve as ex-officio members.
Appointees may be legislators. Appointments must be made by July 27, 2017 and vacancies must be filled by the appointing authority.
The act requires the House speaker and Senate president pro tempore to select the task force's chairpersons from among its members. The chairpersons must schedule the first meeting of the task force, which must be held by August 26, 2017. The Transportation Committee's administrative staff serves as task force staff.
The task force must submit interim reports and a final report on its findings and legislative recommendations to the Transportation Committee. The interim reports are due by January 1, 2018 and July 1, 2018, and the final report is due by January 1, 2019. The task force ends on this date or the date it submits its final report, whichever is later.