New Legislation Puts Controversial Cars on the Roads in Frisco

Debra Reynolds

Recent legislation, passed unanimously through the U.S. House of Representatives, would allow self-driving cars on the road with an exemption from safety standards. The legislation, now being considered by the U.S. Senate, requires the Department of Transportation to develop safety regulations to govern self-driving vehicles on roads that are shared with traditional vehicles. These regulations must be developed and implemented within one year. The Department of Transportation must provide manufacturers developing self-driving vehicles with safety assessment requirements to be used while creating and testing the vehicles within two years.


The legislation also requires self-driving vehicle manufacturers to do two things. First, they must have a plan for developing technology that meets equal levels of safety as traditional vehicles within two years. Second, manufacturers will be required to come up with cybersecurity plans to address cyberattacks on self-driving vehicles.

Proponents of the legislation are excited about the prospect of opening up transportation to those with disabilities, as well as the possibility of removing human error from vehicles and make roads safer. Manufacturers have also cited environmental benefits as a product of using self-driving vehicles. Opponents of the bill fear that the risk of cyberattacks and exemptions from safety standards will make our roads less safe while the technologies are being developed. In other industries such as trucking and public transportation, opponents note that the loss of jobs to self-driving vehicles could be significant. Some are also concerned that federal legislation will prevent individual states from being able enforce their own driving ordinances on self-driving vehicles. Although the bill is still in consideration in the Senate, manufacturers and supporters of the bill are excited at the promise of the legislation and the bipartisan support it has seen so far.

What does this mean for Frisco and the rest of Texas? In June, Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill that allows self-driving vehicle manufacturers to test their technology on Texas roads. The technology is already allowed here in Texas and is expected to grow exponentially in the next year. The proposed federal legislation will provide federal safety framework and federal agencies for regulation and enforcement, but the State of Texas has already been designated as a place to test these vehicles while the technology is still developing. So take a look at the vehicles next to you on the road. They could be driving themselves very soon!