Industry Groups Divided On Self-Driving Car Regulations Bill

Feb 13, 2018

State lawmakers say they’ll seek to find a balance between innovation and safety when it comes to self-driving cars.

A Senate committee took testimony Tuesday on legislation to regulate autonomous vehicles.

The bill creates a regulatory system for any companies that want to test and drive the vehicles. That system would include oversight panels compromised of state Departments of Insurance and Transportation leaders, the State Police, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and local officials.

The measure also bars local governments from banning self-driving cars.

Operating Engineers Union leader Todd Vandermyde says the bill addresses his union’s concern: worker safety.

“How are [autonomous vehicles] going to react when they come into a construction zone and you have a 180-pound man who is working a couple feet from 55 mile-an-hour traffic?” Vandermyde says.

But David Strickland says the federal government, not the state, should regulate the new technology. He represents the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, a group of companies seeking to manufacture and operate such vehicles, including Google, Uber, and Ford. Strickland says the bill will stop such companies from moving to Indiana.

“They can’t possibly do their testing and operations in a way that they would be able to actually deploy their technology and be able to sell it,” Strickland says.

The Senate committee plans to make changes and vote on the bill later this month.