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Legislation restricting self-driving vehicles proposed in California

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Proposed California legislation seeks to further restrict fully autonomous vehicles (AV) already operating on the state’s roadways. 

Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-District 19) introduced AB1777 Jan. 3. The bill was referred back to the Committee On Appropriations April 23.  

The bill would require manufacturers to set up a dedicated emergency response telephone line that is available to first responders by July 1, 2026. 

It also requires manufacturers to equip AVs with two-way voice communication devices to allow nearby responders to speak with a remote human operator. 

The vehicles should also authorize emergency response officials to issue a geofencing message that would direct the AVs to leave or avoid an area. The bill says the vehicles should act on the message within two minutes of receipt. 

Manufacturers also will be required to report any collisions to the state within five days, if the bill is passed. 

The bill also requires manufacturers to be cited for traffic violations. 

San Francisco Police Department previously said it’s unable to cite AVs if there is no driver. Other cities outside of California, including Phoenix Police Department and Las Vegas Metro Police Department, also have said they can’t cite AVs. 

The bill gives the state the ability to restrict AV travel by geographic areas, operating hours roadway type, speed, or weather conditions after reviewing violations and crash reports. 

Another California bill focused on AVs would require each city and county to create a policy regulating AVs before they are allowed to operate on their roadways. 

The bill, SB915, requires cities to specifically set policies on permitting, vehicle caps, and operating hours. It also would ask that local government require the vehicles to have an override system for first responders. 

Cities would be allowed to create service charges, fees, and assessments needed to administer any policy created by an ordinance, the bill says. The bill also was referred back to the Committee On Appropriations April 23.  

Multiple AV attacks have happened in California as public disdain for the vehicles seems to be growing

This included a mob smashing a Waymo vehicle and setting it on fire earlier this year. An activist group, Safe Street Rebel, also has targeted autonomous vehicles with protests. 

Waymo has been operating robotaxis without test drivers in the Phoenix area, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. 

GM Cruise also redeployed its self-driving vehicles with a safety driver in Phoenix earlier this month, according to CNBC. The company pulled all its vehicles off U.S. roadways last October after the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) suspended the company’s operations, in part due to safety, but also because the state said Cruise “misrepresented” information related to the vehicles’ safety.

The suspension came days after safety concerns regarding an August collision between a Cruise vehicle and a firetruck in San Francisco and a pedestrian-involved incident.


Photo courtesy of JasonDoiy/iStock

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