Pittsburgh—Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35), chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, introduced Senate Bill 965 today with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s(PennDOT) Secretary Yassmin Gramian, P.E., to create a roadmap for the testing and commercial deployment of Highly Automated Vehicles (HAV) in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
“We dare to dream today. We dare to stay ahead of the curve, to never settle for complacency,” said Senator Langerholc. “We recognize the future, and it starts here and starts now – a future that will not leave Pennsylvania behind, but rather be the benchmark for the industry. Today’s unveiling of this legislation takes the seed planted by these companies in good faith, and not far from here, and nourishes it. I look forward to the growth and the fruit that it shall bear.”
“We have an opportunity to make transportation safer, smarter, cleaner, more equitable and more efficient than ever,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian, P.E. “PennDOT has been at the forefront and nationally recognized for our leadership on automated vehicles, and we’re excited to mark another milestone in that mission. We applaud Senator Langerholc and our legislative partners for moving us forward. We are confident through our partnership, we will have an updated state law that keeps safety as its focus while helping this technology evolve.”
Senate Bill 965 authorizes the operation of HAVs with or without a driver onboard the vehicle. The testing and commercial deployment of HAVs is limited to educational institutions and businesses specializing in the advancement of driverless technology. This legislation maintains PennDOT’s role as the lead Commonwealth agency and leans on the Highly Automated Vehicle Advisory Committee for continuous evaluation. Senate Bill 965 also incorporates international standards from the Society of Automotive Engineers and best practices from 39 States that implemented legislation or executive orders centered around HAVs.
Current law requires a licensed driver to be seated in the driver’s position at all times and to be in actual physical control of the vehicle. Senate Bill 965 allows an HAV, owned by an educational institution or a business, to operate with a driver in the driver’s position, a driver in a remote location or exclusively by the Automated Driving System.
Senate Bill 965 was referred to the Senate Transportation Committee for consideration.
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