Connecticut House Gives Final Legislative Approval to Autonomous Vehicle Bill

The bill, which passed the Senate in late May, now heads to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for consideration.

by Daniela Altimari, The Hartford Courant / June 6, 2017
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(TNS) -- The House of Representatives on Monday gave final legislative approval to a bill that would establish a pilot program in Stamford and three other Connecticut communities to test autonomous vehicles. It would also create a task force that would examine the legal complexities posed by this new technology.

"We heard a lot about autonomous vehicles,'' said Rep. Devin Carney, R-Old Saybrook. "They are the wave of the future so I think it would be good public policy for us to understand more about how we can use them beneficially for our citizens."

The bill, which passed the Senate in late May, now heads to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for consideration.

The Democratic governor supports the proposal, saying it will put Connecticut at "the forefront of [an] innovative, burgeoning industry.”

“Autonomous vehicles are already being tested in several states throughout the country, and we cannot allow our state to be outpaced as this technology grows. The final language of this legislation, which was overwhelmingly approved with bipartisan votes, includes specific qualifications through limited and controlled testing areas,'' Malloy said. "By adopting this legislation, we will show this growing industry and those around the country that we embrace and promote innovation in Connecticut.”

Companies ranging from Google to Ford have invested heavily in developing autonomous vehicles.

The new technology raises a host of legal issues for the task force to examine.

Rep. Christy Carpino of Cromwell said she is not generally a fan of task forces. But "there are some issues that are too big to jump into without studying first" and autonomous vehicles fall into that category, she said.

©2017 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.