Testing for self-driving vehicles could happen soon in Colorado

Mar 23, 2017

Self-driving vehicles could soon be tested in Colorado under a bill that passed in the state senate Wednesday. The measure would also make it illegal for local communities to ban the vehicles. 

Democratic Sen. Dominick Moreno of Commerce City is one of the main sponsors of the bi-partisan Senate Bill 213. He said it’s not meant to be a comprehensive regulation for autonomous vehicles but simply creates a framework for testing them.

“We want Colorado to be one of the leaders in testing this technology and bringing that innovation to our state,” Moreno said.

But most fellow Democrats opposed the bill. Some thought the measure hadn’t been thoroughly vetted, while others like Sen. Andy Kerr of Lakewood worry about the jobs that would be lost in various industries, such as trucking.

“Those are important jobs that we need to be thinking about right now,” Kerr said. “Not just sitting behind a wheel, but the other aspects of the job that it takes to actually transport goods across our country.”

Meanwhile, Gov. John Hickenlooper predicts it will be years before the country sees wide scale use of autonomous vehicles. While he acknowledges that millions of jobs could be lost, he said it’s a transportation revolution, and said countless lives could also be saved. More than 90 percent of traffic accidents are the result of human error. The measure now heads to the House.