Wyoming Bill Seeks to Regulate Self Driving Vehicles

Wyoming Bill Seeks to Regulate Self Driving Vehicles

Written by on January 18, 2022

As the 2022 Wyoming legislative session approaches, a new bill seeks to define and regulate the not-too-distant future of self-driving vehicles.

One of the numerous bills up for debate in the upcoming Wyoming legislative session is Senate File 16. The bill is sponsored by the Joint Transportation, Highways, and Military Affairs Interim Committee.

Senate File 16 is “an act relating to motor vehicles; providing for the regulation of vehicles equipped with an automated driving system; defining terms; authorizing fees; creating an account; creating penalties; requiring rulemaking; requiring reports; and providing for effective dates.”

The bill’s goal is simple: define and regulate self-driving vehicles in Wyoming.

“Automated Driving Systems” are quickly becoming more common on the nation’s roads. More companies are pledging to incorporate vehicles with A.D.S. for deliveries and transportation.

To prepare for this future, Senate File 16 seeks to have Wyoming define the rules – and costs – for commercial vehicles equipped with A.D.S.

For instance, any A.D.S.-equipped vehicle will need to be inspected to ensure it will comply with traffic, motor vehicle, and equipment laws. This inspection will be crucial to ensure the vehicles are safe and follow all rules at railroad crossings.

All A.D.S. vehicles would need to be registered with the state. In addition, the state would require a yearly report on each vehicle, including the number of miles driven for the current year, the projected miles for the next year, and any collision statistics.

Furthermore, all commercial vehicles using A.D.S. systems would need to be labeled as such. “Appropriate signage” would be required on the front, back, and sides of the vehicle, informing the public that it’s driving itself.

Operating an A.D.S.-equipped commercial vehicle with trailers will be costly – an annual fee of $10,000 and $5 million liability insurance.

The bill reads:

“Commercial vehicles equipped with A.D.S. are also required to obtain an annual public safety communications system authorization and connection for an annual fee of $10,000.

For any vehicle equipped with A.D.S., the Department also may assess an additional fee in an amount necessary to recover all reasonable costs incurred by the Department attributable to regulation and administration to accommodate the vehicles. It is unknown how many or when companies will register vehicles equipped with A.D.S.”

The bill would also authorize W.Y.D.O.T. to require information about specific driverless car operation systems from anyone planning to operate A.D.S.-equipped vehicles in the state.

As for “human operators,” they would be able to oversee the operation of any A.D.S. vehicle. However, even if the vehicle is driving itself, any human operator still needs a valid driver’s license.

If passed, all the proposed regulations of Senate File 16 would be in effect by Sept. 1, 2022.

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