Gov. Walker’s Steering Committee on Driverless Cars Meets

In May 2017, Gov. Scott Walker issued an executive order creating a committee on driverless cars. The governor’s Steering Committee on Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Testing and Deployment convened for the second time on Oct. 18 to discuss Wisconsin’s current statutes surrounding driverless cars and examples from other states.

After introductions of committee members, the committee was briefed on a memo by Legislative Council that discussed where Wisconsin statutes might need to be updated to allow for autonomous vehicle testing. The memo explains that the statutory definition of “drive” and “operator” would allow autonomous vehicles to operate without changing current law. Future areas of potential statutory changes for the committee to consider included licensing requirements, operating while intoxicated prohibitions, inattentive driving liability, and flexibility for state and local governments to begin pilot programs.

Following the presentation was Ben Husch, Senior Policy Director of Natural Resources and Infrastructure at National Conference of State Legislatures. Husch briefed the committee on autonomous vehicle action in other states and at the federal level. Bills on autonomous vehicles are being considered in both chambers of the U.S. Congress, according to Husch. At the state level, 33 states have introduced legislation in 2017. Twenty-one states have already passed legislation related to autonomous vehicles. Including Wisconsin, five states have issued executive orders like Walker’s.[1]

Rep. Adam Neylon (R-Pewaukee) closed the meeting by listing next steps for the committee. Future topics of research and discussion include: truck platooning, establishing autonomous vehicle testing corridors, evaluating resources needed to implement autonomous vehicle testing, and considering adding statutory language specific to autonomous vehicles.