New Oklahoma Law Authorizes Autonomous Vehicles

Prior to operating an autonomous vehicle on state roadways, a law enforcement interaction plan must be submitted to the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety.

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A new law in Oklahoma permits the use of fully autonomous vehicles on state roadways. The rule also applies to commercial vehicles.

 

Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed into law a bill to create the framework for the state to regulate autonomous vehicles.

 

Previously SB1541, the new law authorizes a person to operate a full self-driving vehicle without a human driver provided that the automated driving system is engaged and the vehicle meets certain conditions outlined in the rule.

 

Prior to operating an autonomous vehicle on state roadways, a law enforcement interaction plan must be submitted to the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety. The plan must show law enforcement how to communicate with a fleet support specialist who is available during the times the vehicle is in operation.

 

Additionally, the plan must outline how to safely remove the vehicle from the roadway, how to recognize whether the vehicle is in autonomous mode, proof of insurance coverage equal to at least $1 million, and any additional information the manufacturer or owner deems necessary.

 

Oklahoma joins the autonomous vehicles bandwagon

 

Oklahoma is the 29th state to allow autonomous vehicles through legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Another six states permit testing of vehicles that operate without a driver through executive order. Five more states allow autonomous vehicles via legislation and executive order.

 

“Oklahoma is the only state on the I-40 corridor that isn’t already allowing AVs. That places our state at an economic and public safety disadvantage,” Rosino said in recent remarks. “This legislation will make sure we know who is operating AVs and make sure they have proper insurance and safety protocols.”

 

Driver shortage claim

 

Rosino also highlighted the narrative of a truck driver shortage to tout the benefits of the new rule.

 

“We don’t have enough truck drivers as it is. If we don’t allow AVs, we’re still going to have supply-chain issues in our state and country,” Rosino said. “These vehicles are safe, and this legislation will help our state take advantage of this technology as so many others are already doing.”

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