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Modified bill opening up Kentucky to autonomous vehicles moves on down the road

Self driving car on a road. Autonomous vehicle. Inside view.
Scharfsinn86/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Self driving car on a road. Autonomous vehicle. Inside view.

Legislation paving the way for autonomous vehicles on Kentucky roads is once again before state lawmakers. It emerged from a House committee Thursday. Testifying in support of the measure was Jeff Farrah, CEO of the Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association. He said AVs help make the roads safer.

“AVs do not speed. They do not text. They do not drive impaired or fatigued. Sadly human drivers do all of those things, contributing to nearly 43,000 deaths on our roads,” said Farrah.

Committee members heard from mass transit, the truck safety coalition, and law enforcement representatives, all who expressed concern about the AV legislation. Those concerns ranged from the need for further research to the mapping technology.

Testifying in opposition to the bill was Michelle Grubbs. Grubbs’ son and four others died in a truck-related crash in Paducah in 2021.

“Proven and safe solutions are needed in this time of crisis. And at this time I don’t feel we should be recklessly testing autonomous vehicles and trucks next to unsuspecting Kentucky motorists,” said Grubbs.

The bill differs from a previous version. This measure calls for a human driver in semi-trucks for two years.

A similar bill passed both Houses of the General Assembly previously but was vetoed by Governor Beshear. Bray told committee members the legislature ran out of time to override the veto.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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