Senator Kelly Hancock signed the bill that was approved 31-0 on April 27, 2017, in Texas. According to senator’s words, “such a bill was necessary in order to regulate the rapidly growing technology that advanced in the state”. The bill sets the regulations for cars equipped with driverless technology and they are as follows:
• the vehicle must be equipped with the recording hardware to record all the events during the self-motion,
• if any road accident occurs, a car must stop immediately and inform the proper authority bodies on an accident,
• the car must be insured,
• the car must meet the federal standards of safety, must comply with the basic traffic rules defined for the ordinary cars like having a registration, following traffic rules and complying with motor-vehicle rules.
As it is obvious, the rules are easy and general, and stay in line with the rules that were defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The biggest pros of the passed bill are:
• forbidding authorities of the local towns and cities to set and define their own rules to self-driving vehicles, including norms to have franchises,
• unifying the existing local legislations (if there were any), eliminating discrepancies between them, setting the single ‘game rules’ for the entire state,
• imposing a request to Department of Motor Vehicles to elaborate the wider set of rules to testing, licensing, and operation of the self-driven cars on the Texas roads.
The supporters of the bill say that they were unsure how fast and how many driverless cars will appear on the public roads but only a few of them were spotted in Texas so far and all of them were test vehicles with a manned backup inside the car or a monitor that allowed a man to see and impact on the car’s behaviour on the distance.
The representatives of General Motors Company in the hall during the voting process hailed the approval result clapping hands. An official representative of GM, Paul Hemmersbaugh, told that this bill would be a great step towards the safety of public transportation, provision of possibilities to drive to wide categories of disabled people of Texas, reducing the traffic jams on roads, dramatically decreasing the rate of road deaths and other accidents, and will be a life-changing opportunity in general in building the safer future for all.
Previously Google has already tested the driverless vehicles in Austin, TX, and officials of the city were more opened to innovations than in California, Google’s home state.