In addition to its industry guidance, covered in the previous post, the DOT’s Policy Guidance for autonomous vehicle technologies also proposed a “model state policy” for regulating these new vehicles. This guidance jumps off from DOT’s encouragement to states to leave regulation of autonomous vehicle performance to DOT, and to work with NHTSA to develop any state-level regulation that does wind up being adopted. DOT does recognize, on the other hand, the value of states’ roles in licensing operators and registering vehicles; enacting and enforcing traffic laws; conducting safety inspections; and regulating insurance and liability requirements.
The model policy covers the following areas of potential regulation:
How states choose to address these issues will affect not just the manufacturers and others looking to provide autonomous vehicle solutions, but will likely help determine just how accepting the general public is of these vehicles. If consumers are assured of exactly what the legal framework is, and what their responsibilities are for carrying insurance or being licensed to operate these vehicles, it will be easier to get first adopters on board.