Bill Text: HI HB2253 | 2018 | Regular Session | Introduced

Bill Title: Relating To Autonomous Motor Vehicles.

Spectrum: Moderate Partisan Bill (Democrat 9-1)

Status: (Introduced - Dead) 2018-01-26 - Referred to TRN, CPC, FIN, referral sheet 8 [HB2253 Detail]

Download: Hawaii-2018-HB2253-Introduced.html


H.B. NO.



















     SECTION 1.  The legislature finds, in concurrence with executive order 17-07, that the State of Hawaii possesses optimal conditions for testing autonomous vehicles.  The legislature further finds that this new technology can potentially save lives and reduce commuting times. 

     The legislature finds that the governor has tasked the department of transportation, among other departments, to develop policies regarding the testing and business opportunities of autonomous vehicles in Hawaii.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation has created "Best Practices for Legislatures" guidelines to encourage and assist states with the implementation of autonomous vehicle testing and operation procedures.  These policies can and should guide the State as it moves forward. 

     The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers has predicted that seventy-five per cent of vehicles will be "driverless" by 2040.  It would therefore benefit our State to prepare for inevitable technological advances by granting clear legislative authorization for the testing of autonomous vehicles.  So far twenty-one states, including California, Florida, and Nevada, have already approved driverless vehicle testing on their roads. 

The purpose of this Act is to authorize and regulate the operation of autonomous vehicles for testing purposes in the State of Hawaii.  

     SECTION 2.  Chapter 286, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new part to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:


     §286-  Definitions.  As used in this part, the following terms have the following meanings unless the context indicates otherwise:

     "Autonomous technology" means technology installed on a motor vehicle that has the capability to drive the vehicle on which the technology is installed without the active control or monitoring by a human operator.

     "Autonomous vehicle" means any vehicle equipped with autonomous technology.  The 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 keeping assistance, lane departure warning, or traffic jam and queuing assistance, unless any such system alone or in combination with other systems enables the vehicle on which the technology is installed to drive without active control or monitoring by a human operator.

     "Department" means the department of transportation.

     §286-  Authorization.  The director of transportation shall authorize, no later than January 1, 2019, the development of an autonomous vehicle testing program, to be administered by the department of transportation.  

     §286-  Application and approval process.  (a)  The department shall establish, no later than January 1, 2020, an application and approval process by which autonomous vehicle manufacturers and other interested parties may seek to test autonomous vehicles in the State. 

     (b)  Prior to granting any approval for testing, the department shall require, at a minimum, satisfactory evidence of the following:

     (1)  The applicant's safety record;

     (2)  The applicant's insured or bonded status;

(3)  The autonomous vehicle's safety features, including the presence of a manual override feature; and

(4)  The ease with which the autonomous vehicle's operator can activate and deactivate the autonomous technology.

     (c)  The department may assess any fees necessary to cover the costs of application processing and program administration.

     (d)  The department shall adopt rules under chapter 91 to implement this part.

     (e)  The department shall establish administrative penalties for noncompliance with the requirements of this part or with rules adopted pursuant to chapter 91.

     (f)  No later than twenty days prior to the convening of each regular session, and beginning with the regular session of 2021, the director shall submit a report to the legislature that addresses the following:

     (1)  The feasibility and safety implications of authorizing the operation of autonomous vehicles beyond the testing phase;

     (2)  The adoption or amendment of relevant administrative rules issued pursuant to this part;

     (3)  Any additional legislative action that may be required for the safe testing and operation of autonomous vehicles; and

     (4)  Detailed information on the autonomous vehicle manufacturers and other interested parties who submitted applications pursuant to this part during the preceding twelve-month period.

     §286-  Operation of vehicles equipped with autonomous technology on roads for testing purposes; financial responsibility; exemption from liability for manufacturer when third party converts vehicle.  (a)  Vehicles equipped with autonomous technology may be operated on roads in this state by employees, contractors, or other persons designated by manufacturers of autonomous technology for the purpose of testing the technology.  

     (b)  For testing purposes, a human operator who possesses a valid driver license shall be present in the autonomous vehicle such that he or she has the ability to monitor the vehicle’s performance and intervene, if necessary, unless the vehicle is being tested or demonstrated on a closed course.  For purposes of this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires, a person shall be deemed to be the operator of an autonomous vehicle operating in autonomous mode when the person causes the vehicle’s autonomous technology to engage, regardless of whether the person is physically present in the vehicle while the vehicle is operating in autonomous mode

     (c)  Prior to the start of testing in this state, the entity performing the testing must submit to the department of transportation an instrument of insurance, surety bond, or proof of self-insurance acceptable to the department in the amount of $5 million.

     (d)  The original manufacturer of a vehicle converted by a third party into an autonomous vehicle shall not be liable in, and shall have a defense to and be dismissed from, any legal action brought against the original manufacturer by any person injured due to an alleged vehicle defect caused by the conversion of the vehicle, or by equipment installed by the converter, unless the alleged defect was present in the vehicle as originally manufactured.

§286-  Autonomous vehicles regulations.  (a)  An autonomous vehicle registered in this state must continue to meet applicable federal standards and regulations for such motor vehicles.  The vehicle must:

     (1)  Have a system to safely alert the operator if an autonomous technology failure is detected while the autonomous technology is engaged.  When an alert is given, the system must:

          (A)  Require the operator to take control of the autonomous vehicle; or

          (B)  Be capable of bringing the vehicle to a complete stop if the operator does not, or is not able to, take control of the autonomous vehicle;

     (2)  Have a means inside the vehicle to visually indicate when the vehicle is operating in autonomous mode; and

     (3)  Be capable of being operated in compliance with the applicable traffic and motor vehicle laws of this state.

(b)  Federal regulations promulgated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shall supersede this section when found to be in conflict with this section. 

     SECTION 3.  There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $             or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2018-2019 for the establishment of the autonomous vehicle testing program and any associated costs.

     The sum appropriated shall be expended by the department of transportation for the purposes of this Act.

     SECTION 4.  In codifying the new sections added by section 2 of this Act, the revisor of statutes shall substitute appropriate section numbers for the letters used in designating the new sections in this Act.

     SECTION 5.  This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2018.

















Report Title:

Autonomous Motor Vehicles; Department of Transportation; Testing; Liability; Appropriation



Authorizes and regulates the testing of autonomous vehicles in the State of Hawaii.  Establishes approval process and annual reporting.  Defines autonomous vehicles, regulations, and financial liabilities.  Makes an appropriation.




The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.