D.C. May Have Strict Regulations for AVs

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April 4, 2019—Washington D.C. may implement stricter regulations with autonomous vehicles. According to a report by Curbed D.C., "Autonomous Vehicles Testing Program Amendment Act of 2019" was pitched by council members, Mary Cheh, Charles Allen, and chairman Phil Mendelson.

The bill would create a permit process for autonomous vehicle testing where a review would take place within the District Department of Transportation. If passed, companies that are looking to test-drive autonomous vehicles in the city would have to provide the following information to officials: information on the vehicle that will be tested, safety operations, testing locations, insurance, safety strategies. 

“As autonomous technologies and programs develop, our laws have to keep pace with those changes,” Cheh said in opening remarks. “The bill would ensure that the District remains a leader in accommodating these new technologies while also ensuring that all of our roadway users including cyclists and pedestrians are safe and protected.” 

Additionally, permits could be revoked by the DDOT to “suspend or revoke permits for good cause, including that a company made materially false statements in its application; that an accident has occurred that results in serious bodily injury or death; or that the autonomous driving system used by the company is the subject of an active National Traffic Safety Board investigation,” Cheh noted. 

Mendelson, Cheh, and Allen also co-introduced a second, complementary bill, "The Autonomous Vehicle Amendment Act of 2019," according to Curbed D.C. The bill would essentially modernize current registration, license, and liability requirements for autonomous vehicles in D.C., the publication reports.

“These two bills together would create a more comprehensive policy with regard to autonomous vehicles and their operation in the District of Columbia," Mendelson said during the meeting.

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