Self-driving cars legislation makes headway in NM House of Representatives
AZTEC — Autonomous vehicles, often colloquially called self-driving vehicles, can already be seen on some roads in New Mexico as two companies test vehicles.
Now legislators have introduced a bill that sponsor Rep. Patty Lundstrom, D-Gallup, says would set up in statute the authority to regulate and give guidance with the new kind of industry that is emerging.
This bill would require companies wishing to test autonomous vehicles in New Mexico to provide five-days' notice to the New Mexico Department of Transportation and sets in place the information that companies should provide.
It also allows for platooning of vehicles, which is currently allowed in neighboring states but is not permitted in New Mexico.
House Bill 270, Autonomous Vehicles, passed the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee on March 1. Rep. Alonzo Baldonodo, R-Los Lunas, cast the sole dissenting vote.
Rep. Harry Garcia, D-Grants, is one of the other sponsors on the bill. He said right now is a perfect opportunity for New Mexico to get ahead of other states. He said the autonomous vehicles could become an economic driver.
“If we don’t do it, someone else is going to do it and then we’ll be behind,” Garcia said.
Other bill sponsors include Rep. Randal Crowder, R-Clovis, Rep. Dayan Hochman-Vigil, D-Albuquerque, and Rep. Joy Garratt, D-Albuquerque.
The committee chairman, Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas, D-Albuquerque, acknowledged that the bill is not perfect and said he hopes the sponsors continue working on it as it moves forward in the Legislature.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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