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PA Senate Transportation Comm. Votes ‘Yes’ on SB 965

Legislation would allow autonomous vehicle testing on public roads.

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The Pennsylvania Senate Transportation Committee voted on Jan. 26 to move Senate Bill 965 out of committee for consideration by the full Senate. This legislation would allow companies to test self-driving vehicles on Pennsylvania highways without a driver available to take over in an emergency. 

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During the hearing on this legislation, proponents of the bill spoke to the opportunity that highly autonomous vehicles present for job creation and mobility for underserved communities, such as the elderly or the disabled. However, committee members also raised concerns about opposition from labor groups, such as the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) about how this legislation will impact union jobs. 

The Automotive Service Association released a press statement earlier this month supporting this bill with vehicle safety inspection provisions. 

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ASA continues to ask Pennsylvania shops to contact their state representatives to urge them to consider extending existing vehicle safety inspection laws to the deployment of autonomous vehicles. To send a letter of support, CLICK HERE.

According to ASA, new vehicle technologies should be regularly inspected by qualified repair professionals to ensure that vehicle systems are working properly to keep drivers and other road users safe. 

In Pennsylvania, vehicles are required to get an annual vehicle safety inspection. Autonomous technology is intended to reduce user error and improve safety while driving. However, these autonomous safety systems must be regularly inspected to ensure that they continue to function as intended after the vehicle is in-use. 

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Pennsylvania S.B. 965 will now be considered by the entire Pennsylvania Senate. During the hearing, committee members committed to participating with industry stakeholders to continue the conversation on this legislation and ensure that all concerns are addressed. 

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