Texas Passes New Driverless Car Law: Drivers Not Required in Texas

Reed Smith
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[co-author: Erica Spilde]

Last month, Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill into law that expressly allows motor vehicles with “automated driving systems” to operate on Texas highways.

While Texas had previously been silent on the issue of driverless cars, Texas Senate Bill 2205 authorizes these vehicles to operate on the roadways, provided that the operators (who may or may not be inside the vehicle) and their vehicles adhere to clearly listed specifications. The vehicles are allowed to operate “only for the purpose of research or testing” and, among other requirements, must display a sign stating that the vehicle is “a test automated motor vehicle.”  The vehicle operator must also give notice to the relevant Texas agencies of the anticipated date and location of the automated vehicle testing on the highway.

Takeaway: Companies testing self-driving cars should take care to comply with the common-sense requirements outlined in the new Texas law when it goes into effect on September 1, 2017.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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