State Sen. Toni Boucher / The future is now
The bill regarding fully autonomous cars, also known as “driverless cars,” is a bill whose time has come.
My fellow leaders in the Legislature’s Transportation Committee and I recently proposed and passed SB 260: An Act Concerning Autonomous Vehicles
The bill establishes a task force to study FAVs and analyze how they could impact the state. The task force would be made up of the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Office of Policy and Management and the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. They would identify four municipalities where FAV manufacturers can test FAV on those municipalities’ highways to identify safeguards and insurance issues that could arise from the use of this new technology.
As fantastic as FAV innovation seems to be, insurance, liability and moral dilemma issues abound:
If an accident occurs, is the car owner, manufacturer or the software developer at fault, and who pays for the damages;
Should a driverless car be programmed choose to run over a pedestrian to save the passenger or save the passenger at the expense of the pedestrian?
However, the benefits of driverless include:
Giving mobility to the elderly and disabled;
Reducing incidents associated with impaired driving or DUIs;
Saving thousands of lives each year — human error contributes to 90 percent of all traffic accidents.
Adoption of self-driving car technology will be much faster than traditional adoption rates of new technologies in the auto industry. The reasons? This technology offers enormous benefits in terms of safety, the increase in available personal time, and the competitive advantage for early-adopting companies seeking to lower the costs of labor, fuel and insurance. Every state is experiencing a wave of unprecedented innovation, which makes the completion of these studies critical.
This bill puts Connecticut in a prime position to be one of the first states to safely roll out this new technology so we will not be left in the dust, choking on the exhaust fumes of old technology.
Connecticut must drive ahead into the future because the future is now!
State Sen. Toni Boucher, R-26, is co-chairwoman of the Transportation Committee and represents the communities of Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport and Wilton.