S T A T E O F N E W Y O R K
2013-2014 Regular Sessions
I N S E N A T E
May 1, 2013
Introduced by Sen. BALL -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
printed to be committed to the Committee on Transportation
AN ACT to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to authorizing
the testing and operation of autonomous motor vehicles upon public
highways; to amend the general obligations law, in relation to the
liability of motor vehicle manufacturers for vehicles converted to
autonomous motor vehicles; and directing the commissioner of motor
vehicles to make recommendations upon additional legislative actions
relating to autonomous vehicles
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. Legislative intent. The legislature hereby declares that
it intends to encourage and support the safe development, testing and
operation of motor vehicles with autonomous technology upon the public
highways of the state. This state, while not prohibiting the testing and
operation of motor vehicles with autonomous technology, hereby regulates
such testing and operation.
S 2. The vehicle and traffic law is amended by adding two new
sections 100-e and 100-f to read as follows:
S 100-E. AUTONOMOUS TECHNOLOGY. TECHNOLOGY INSTALLED ON A MOTOR VEHI-
CLE THAT HAS THE CAPABILITY TO DRIVE THE VEHICLE ON WHICH THE TECHNOLOGY
IS INSTALLED WITHOUT THE ACTIVE CONTROL OR MONITORING BY A HUMAN OPERA-
TOR. SUCH TERM EXCLUDES A MOTOR VEHICLE ENABLED WITH ACTIVE SAFETY
SYSTEMS OR DRIVER ASSISTANCE SYSTEMS, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, A
SYSTEM TO PROVIDE ELECTRONIC BLIND SPOT ASSISTANCE, CRASH AVOIDANCE,
EMERGENCY BRAKING, PARKING ASSISTANCE, ADAPTIVE CRUISE CONTROL, LANE
KEEP ASSISTANCE, LANE DEPARTURE WARNING, OR TRAFFIC JAM AND QUEUING
ASSISTANT, UNLESS ANY SUCH SYSTEM ALONE OR IN COMBINATION WITH OTHER
SYSTEMS ENABLES THE MOTOR VEHICLE ON WHICH THE TECHNOLOGY IS INSTALLED
TO DRIVE WITHOUT THE ACTIVE CONTROL OR MONITORING BY A HUMAN OPERATOR.
EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
[ ] is old law to be omitted.
S. 4912 2
S 100-F. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE. A MOTOR VEHICLE EQUIPPED WITH AUTONOMOUS
S 3. The vehicle and traffic law is amended by adding a new section
379 to read as follows:
S 379. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES. 1. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES REGISTERED IN THIS
STATE SHALL COMPLY WITH ALL FEDERAL STANDARDS AND REGULATIONS APPLICABLE
TO MOTOR VEHICLES. IN ADDITION, EACH AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE SHALL:
(A) HAVE A MEANS TO ENGAGE AND DISENGAGE THE AUTONOMOUS TECHNOLOGY
THEREIN WHICH IS EASILY ACCESSIBLE TO THE OPERATOR OF THE AUTONOMOUS
(B) HAVE THE MEANS, INSIDE SUCH VEHICLE, TO INDICATE TO THE OPERATOR
THEREOF WHEN THE AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE IS OPERATING IN AUTONOMOUS MODE;
(C) HAVE A MEANS TO ALERT THE OPERATOR THEREOF IF A TECHNOLOGY FAILURE
AFFECTING THE ABILITY OF SUCH VEHICLE TO SAFELY OPERATE AUTONOMOUSLY IS
DETECTED WHILE THE AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE IS OPERATING AUTONOMOUSLY, SO AS
TO DIRECT THE VEHICLE OPERATOR TO RESUME CONTROL OF THE MOTOR VEHICLE;
(D) BE CAPABLE OF BEING OPERATED IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF
THIS CHAPTER AND ANY RULES AND REGULATIONS PROMULGATED PURSUANT THERETO.
2. ALL FEDERAL REGULATIONS PROMULGATED BY THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC
SAFETY ADMINISTRATION SHALL SUPERSEDE ANY INCONSISTENT PROVISION OF
SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION.
S 4. The vehicle and traffic law is amended by adding a new section
507-a to read as follows:
S 507-A. OPERATION OF AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES. 1. ANY PERSON WHO HOLDS A
CLASS D LICENSE OR ITS EQUIVALENT MAY OPERATE AN AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE IN
AUTONOMOUS MODE UPON A PUBLIC HIGHWAY.
2. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS CHAPTER, A PERSON SHALL BE DEEMED TO BE
OPERATING AN AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE OPERATING IN AUTONOMOUS MODE WHEN SUCH
PERSON CAUSES SUCH VEHICLE'S AUTONOMOUS TECHNOLOGY TO ENGAGE, REGARDLESS
OF WHETHER SUCH PERSON IS PHYSICALLY PRESENT IN THE AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE.
S 5. The vehicle and traffic law is amended by adding a new section
1212-a to read as follows:
S 1212-A. TESTING OF AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES. 1. MOTOR VEHICLES WITH
AUTONOMOUS TECHNOLOGY ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE OPERATED ON PUBLIC HIGHWAYS
BY EMPLOYEES, CONTRACTORS OR OTHER PERSONS DESIGNATED BY A MANUFACTURER
OF AUTONOMOUS TECHNOLOGY FOR THE PURPOSE OF TESTING SUCH TECHNOLOGY.
PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION A HUMAN OPERA-
TOR SHALL BE PRESENT WITHIN THE MOTOR VEHICLE SUCH THAT SUCH OPERATOR
HAS THE ABILITY TO MONITOR SUCH VEHICLE'S PERFORMANCE AND RESUME FULL
CONTROL OF THE MOTOR VEHICLE, IF NECESSARY.
2. PRIOR TO THE COMMENCEMENT OF ANY TESTING PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION,
THE ENTITY SHALL SUBMIT TO THE DEPARTMENT AN INSTRUMENT OF INSURANCE,
SURETY BOND OR PROOF OF SELF-INSURANCE ACCEPTABLE TO THE COMMISSIONER IN
AN AMOUNT OF NOT LESS THAN FIVE MILLION DOLLARS.
S 6. Article 9 of the general obligations law is amended by adding a
new title 3 to read as follows:
SECTION 9-301. DEFINITIONS.
9-303. LIABILITY OF ORIGINAL MANUFACTURER, DISTRIBUTOR OR DEAL-
S 9-301. DEFINITIONS. AS USED IN THIS TITLE:
1. "AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE" SHALL HAVE THE SAME MEANING AS PROVIDED IN
SECTION ONE HUNDRED-F OF THE VEHICLE AND TRAFFIC LAW.
S. 4912 3
2. "MOTOR VEHICLE" SHALL HAVE THE SAME MEANING AS PROVIDED IN SECTION
ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE OF THE VEHICLE AND TRAFFIC LAW.
S 9-303. LIABILITY OF ORIGINAL MANUFACTURER, DISTRIBUTOR OR DEALER.
THE ORIGINAL MANUFACTURER, DISTRIBUTOR OR DEALER OF A MOTOR VEHICLE
CONVERTED TO BE AN AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE BY A THIRD PARTY AFTER DELIVERY OF
SUCH MOTOR VEHICLE BY SUCH MANUFACTURER, DISTRIBUTOR OR DEALER, SHALL
NOT BE LIABLE IN, SHALL HAVE AN ABSOLUTE DEFENSE TO AND SHALL BE
DISCHARGED FROM ANY CAUSE OF ACTION COMMENCED BY ANY PERSON FOR DAMAGES
DUE TO AN ALLEGED MOTOR VEHICLE DEFECT CAUSED BY THE CONVERSION OF SUCH
VEHICLE TO AN AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE, OR BY ANY EQUIPMENT INSTALLED UPON A
MOTOR VEHICLE BY THE PERSON WHO CONVERTED SUCH VEHICLE TO AN AUTONOMOUS
VEHICLE, UNLESS SUCH DEFECT IS ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN PRESENT IN THE MOTOR
VEHICLE AS ORIGINALLY MANUFACTURED.
S 7. The commissioner of motor vehicles shall study the operation and
testing of autonomous vehicles, and shall, on or before February 12,
2015, report his or her findings and recommendations to the governor and
the legislature. Such report shall include recommendations and such
legislative proposals as shall be deemed necessary for the safe testing
and operation of motor vehicles equipped with autonomous technology.
S 8. This act shall take effect July 1, 2013.