Autonomous vehicle legislation passes out of Mississippi House Committee

Chairman Rep. Busby says AVs are meant to be part of our trade and it’s imperative that the state have regulations that support them and Mississippi.

Last week, lawmakers passed Mississippi House Transportation Committee Bill 1003. The bill, authored by State Representative Charles Busby (R), Speaker of the House, would introduce the Mississippi Fully Autonomous Vehicle Enabling (MS FAVE) Act of 2023 to regulate the operation of autonomous vehicles (AVs) on public roads.

“I am proud that our committee has recognized the need to regulate AVs. We’ve worked closely with the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Transportation to ensure we have laws that are good for Mississippi,” said Assemblyman Busby.

Busby, a candidate for Southern District Transportation Commissioner this year, said he’s early in the process and has ample opportunity to improve the guidelines as new information becomes available.

“With a nationwide shortage of 80,000 truck drivers and expectations of that number doubling in the next few years, AVs are destined to become part of our trade and it’s imperative that we have regulations in place that protect them and.” Support Mississippi,” Busby continued.

According to the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL), industry leaders see autonomous vehicles as an essential part of the future of the automotive industry. Each year, the number of states considering autonomous vehicle legislation gradually increases.

Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association (AVIA) Executive Director Jeff Farrah thanked State Assemblyman Busby for recognizing the transformative benefits of AVs and his leadership on HB 1003.

“During the past decade, Mississippi has tragically experienced the highest rate of road deaths in the nation,” Farrah said. “We encourage the Mississippi legislature to pass HB 1003 so that AVs can realize their potential to improve traffic safety for residents while strengthening supply chain resilience, improving mobility and supporting economic growth.”

The AVIA stated that it is critical for Americans to understand that driver-assistance technology is not the same as an autonomous vehicle (AV).

“The mixing of driver assistance systems and AVs (even unintentionally) harms consumers’ understanding of two different technologies,” explained AVIA. “Failing to understand the difference by American consumers actually increases the safety risks from driver assistance system misuse. In turn, misuse of the driver assistance system leads to greater confusion and potential concerns, jeopardizing the future of AVs to enable significant safety and mobility benefits. AVs open up a new era of safety and mobility that goes beyond what is possible with driver assistance systems like Tesla’s Autopilot.”

AVIA urges policymakers, journalists and other stakeholders to make a clear distinction between ADAS and AVs.

“Although both can offer an opportunity to improve road safety, AVs and driver assistance are two completely different technologies with completely different capabilities, applications, experiences, business models and target customers,” continued AVIA.

— Article credit to Anne Summerhays of the Magnolia Tribune —

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