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State Senator

Carlo Leone

Representing Stamford & Darien

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Leone Welcomes Governor’s Signing of His Autonomous Vehicles Bill

STAMFORD—State Senator Carlo Leone (D-Stamford) today joined with Governor Dannel P. Malloy in celebrating the signing into law of important new transportation legislation that will create a pilot program allowing manufacturers and fleet service providers to test fully autonomous vehicles in Connecticut.

The new law—championed in the legislature by Sen. Leone—establishes strict standards for testing under the program and requires participating municipalities to enter into agreements with autonomous vehicle testers. The legislation is Public Act 17-69, “An Act Concerning Autonomous Vehicles.” It was adopted in both chambers of the state legislature with broad, bipartisan support.

“America is undergoing a transportation technology revolution that is akin to the invention of the airplane or the automobile itself, and this new autonomous vehicles law will help ensure that Connecticut is a part of the far-reaching technological revolution to come,” said Sen. Leone, who is Senate Co-Chairman of the Transportation Committee. “I’ve spoken with business leaders, engineers, and organizations who want to be partners with Connecticut in the advancement of this new endeavor, while of course insuring public safety and public convenience aspects are met. This is a tremendous opportunity for Connecticut citizens and I applaud Governor Malloy for his quick realization on the possibilities ahead, and his support in making this legislation a reality.”

Sen. Leone said the law is written in such a way that Stamford will be one of the first four municipalities in Connecticut to test fully autonomous vehicles, or “FAVs.”

“Signing this legislation into law will help put Connecticut at the forefront of a pioneering, burgeoning industry that by all accounts is pushing the future of innovation in this important sector of our economy,” said Governor Malloy. “We are showing this industry and those around the country that we promote the development of these kind of forward-thinking, technology-driven products in Connecticut. I refuse to let our state be outpaced as this technology grows.”

The new law allows Connecticut to establish a pilot program for up four municipalities to allow FAV manufacturers to test FAVs on those municipalities’ local roads. Once selected, a city leader would enter into a written agreement with an autonomous vehicle tester and specify what routes an FAV would take in town, identify the FAV’s by vehicle identification number, make, year and model, and specify their hours of operation.

All FAV’s in the pilot program would require a licensed and insured human operator in the driver’s seat, monitoring the operation of the vehicle and capable of taking “immediate manual control” of the vehicle if necessary.

Under terms of the law, a pilot FAV program could be ceased if it is determined that the testing poses a public safety risk. The law also creates a task force to study the use of FAVs in Connecticut, with reports due to the Transportation Committee on January 1, 2018, July 1, 2018, and January 1, 2019.

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