California Senate Committee Passes Bill Regulating Autonomous Vehicles

The bill allows local governments within the state to set their own rules regarding the operation of AVs.


The California State Senate Local Government Committee has passed Senate Bill 915, enabling local governments to regulate autonomous vehicles (AVs). This bill aims to address public safety concerns amidst growing apprehension about AV technology.

Introduced by State Sen. Dave Cortese, D-San Jose, in January, SB 915 allows municipalities the option to restrict AVs on their roads or to implement specific regulations if they permit them. These may include caps on the number of AVs, data transparency requirements, ADA accessibility and safety inspections.

The bill's passage comes amid ongoing AV safety incidents. This year alone, robotaxis in California came within seconds of colliding with children and crashed into a cyclist. In February, Waymo announced a recall of its robotaxi software in response to two of its robotaxis crashing into the same truck minutes apart in Phoenix, AZ, in December 2023.

Despite these safety concerns, state agencies like the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the Department of Motor Vehicles have been slow to enact robust AV safety measures.

"Under current California law, state agencies are the only regulatory bodies with any regulatory authority over AV operations. Instead of supporting common sense regulation, the agencies support Big Tech," said Peter Finn, Teamsters Western Region international vice president and president of Teamsters Joint Council 7.

The Teamsters support the bill and thanked the committee for voting to pass it.

"The Teamsters commend the senators on the Local Government Committee who supported this bill to protect public safety and good union jobs," said Chris Griswold, Teamsters International vice president at-large and president of Teamsters Joint Council 42. "Right now, local communities have zero control over the dangerous autonomous vehicles on their roads. SB 915 will help fix this broken system and keep our communities safe by giving municipalities a voice in the deployment of AVs."

SB 915 is part of the CARS legislative package, which includes two other bills that recently passed the State Assembly Transportation Committee. The package focuses on ensuring AV regulation safeguards public safety and employment.

As SB 915 moves forward, its proponents hope it will set a precedent for responsible AV deployment, reflecting the concerns of more than 91% of U.S. drivers who express fear or uncertainty about fully self-driving vehicles, according to a study by the American Automobile Association.

Website Rt Graphic Ep.51 Nancy Rolland 600x400 1.9.24

Shop & Product Showcase

  • Read testimonials from real collision repair shops about the tools and technologies they use to get the job done.