TRENTON, NJ – State Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, D-16th, is co-sponsor of a bill that would ensure self-driving cars are safely integrated on New Jersey roads.
Co-sponsors are Assemblyman Daniel Benson and Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt; their bill would establish a task force to evaluate autonomous vehicles. The bill was approved on Thursday by the full Assembly and heads to Gov. Phil Murphy for his consideration.
“It may not be long before self-driving cars are commonplace in New Jersey, marking a significant change in how people get around each day,” Zwicker said. “We need to make sure our transportation regulations are up to date to meet this influx of innovation.”
The measure would create the New Jersey Advanced Autonomous Vehicle Task Force, comprised of eight members. The group would be responsible for conducting a study of autonomous vehicles and recommending laws, rules, and regulations that the state may enact to safely integrate these vehicles on the roads.
An advanced autonomous vehicle would be defined as a motor vehicle with a driving automation level of three, four, or five, as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers International, and is used by the United States Department of Transportation for autonomous vehicle policy guidance. Level three vehicles are classified as having conditional automation, during which an autonomous system operates under certain conditions with human drivers as a back-up; level four vehicles have high automation, such as Google’s test cars; and level five cars are fully automated and do not have a steering wheel.
The task force shall be comprised of the following members: the Commissioner of Transportation (DOT); the Chief Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC); the Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety in the Department of Law and Public Safety; three public members appointed by the Governor including a member who was recommended by the Division of Banking and Insurance; one public member appointed by the Senate President; and one public member appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly.
The group would be required to meet within 90 days after the bill’s effective date, and within 180 days of the first meeting. It would be required to issue a report to the Governor and the Legislature evaluating safety standards and recommending best practices.
The New Jersey MVC and the DOT would be required to assist the task force with necessary duties.
Additionally, the task force would conduct an evaluation of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s safety standards for advanced autonomous vehicles and whether the state may enact stricter safety standards; an evaluation of existing state and federal law concerning advanced autonomous vehicles with a focus on safety standards; an evaluation of existing legislation and regulations in other states concerning advanced autonomous vehicles with a focus on safety standards; recommendations on how New Jersey could safely integrate advanced autonomous vehicles on the highways, streets, and roads; any other information relevant to the subject of the report; and any draft legislation the task force deems appropriate.
If enacted, New Jersey would join Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Oregon in using a task force to study the implementation of autonomous vehicles.