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21951B1AA761133287258640005F7909 Hearing Summary


Date Dec 16, 2020      
Location HCR 0112

LLS 21-0197: Unif Automated Operation of Vehicles Act - To be introduced as a Commission Bill

10:22:50 AM  

Leighton Yates, Director of State Affairs for the Alliance for Automated Innovation: the Alliance represents more than 30 businesses representing large and small automotive manufacturers and technology companies, and provided written comments to the commission in opposition to the Act. Senate Bill 17-213 regarding automated vehicles and current Colorado motor vehicles laws in effect are sufficient for oversight of the industry. The Alliance considers the Act premature and believes that it would impede future development in the industry in Colorado. It has not passed in other states and the commission should not move it forward in Colorado. Commissioner Mielke asked who gets the ticket if there is an accident. Mr. Yates responded that it would go to the person if the automated system was not engaged at the time; otherwise it would be determined according to existing state or common law. Commissioner Mielke observed that there were many in the industry that supported the Act and that much of the current vehicle advertising for the vehicles emphasize that the manufacturer is the driver. The commission asked if there was current Colorado common law covering this area and about needing to file against businesses in other states.  

10:40:26 AM  

Thad Kurowski, Senior Policy Manager at Tesla, Inc., Tesla provided written comments in opposition of the Act. He spoke to the safety of autonomous vehicles. Tesla produces a variety of fully electric vehicles designed for safety and continual software improvements with self-driving capabilities. Tesla has experienced one accident in roughly 6 million autonomous driving miles; federal statistics for accident rates for non-autonomous vehicles is one in 479,000 miles. He concurred that existing law balances regulatory oversight and protecting Colorado road users and that passage of the Act would stifle innovation and potentially delay the use of automated vehicles in Colorado. The industry is working with Congress on federal law regarding uniformity on safety and data privacy issues in the industry.

10:48:58 AM  

Libby Snyder, Uniform Law Commission (ULC), spoke to some points shared regarding the passage of the Act in other states. The Act was only introduced in one state last year and failed due to the task force in that state not being ready to move forward on it at the time. She emphasized that the question in the Act is who is responsible for the vehicle when it is under autonomous control and that the Act recognizes and respects the federal role regarding autonomous vehicles; the Act does not put states into that role.

10:57:51 AM  

Bryant Walker Smith, Professor at the University of South Carolina and ULC reporter on this Act, stated that the specific issue the Act is addressing is to identify who the driver is and who gets the ticket, or is liable, when something goes wrong. It is in the state's interest to identify some entity as the driver who is subject to current traffic laws. The commission observed that the technology is developing quickly and current Colorado law does not require the automated vehicle provider to register or to take responsibility for technical problems leading to accidents. It did consider whether the Act might impede innovation in the industry, but it was pointed out that California has very stringent laws regarding the industry and innovation continues in that state. The commission clarified that the Act does not prohibit individuals from owning these vehicles and that driving regulations – registration of vehicles, licensing, and liability – are state law issues. The commission conceded that the Act may be a heavy lift at this time and finding sponsorship may be an issue, but in spite of the opposition to the Act, it does appear that it would benefit the state. The commission thanked everyone for their time and comments on the Act.

11:09:48 AM  
Commissioner Mielke moved
to introduce LLS 21-0197: Uniform Automated Operation of Vehicles Act
as a commission bill, contingent on finding a sponsor and with any technical
amendments needed. Commissioner Levy seconded and the motion passed 7-2.
Commissioners Tipper and Gardner agreed
to find a sponsor.  

11:09:50 AM
Motion Moved to introduce LLS 21-0197: Uniform Automated Operation of Vehicles Act as a commission bill, contingent on finding a sponsor and with any technical amendments needed.
Moved Donald Mielke
Alicia Duran No
Thomas Grimshaw Excused
Donald Mielke Yes
Thomas Morris Yes
Charley Pike Yes
Sara Scott Yes
Tipper Yes
Joseph Whitfield Yes
Gardner No
Claire Levy Yes
YES: 7   NO: 2   EXC: 1   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS

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