SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah House put its collective foot on the gas of moving a proposal forward that would clear the lanes for autonomous vehicles on state highways.
HB101, supported on a unanimous House vote on Wednesday, would allow for operation in Utah of all levels of autonomous vehicles, which are rated from 0, designating a vehicle with no automated assistance whatsoever, to a 5, which is a vehicle that can pilot itself regardless of conditions.
The highest level of automation in vehicles currently available to consumers, like those sold by Tesla, Volvo or Mercedes-Benz, is level 2.
The proposal not only allows for automated vehicle operation but creates a matrix for determining liability in the event of an accident. Sponsor Rep. Robert Spendlove, R-Sandy, said in a committee hearing earlier this month that safety figures largely into the debate.
"Every year, over 30,000 people die in traffic accidents," Spendlove said. "This is the price we pay for driving … and 94 percent of those accidents are caused by human error."
HB101 now moves to the Senate for that body's consideration.