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Dealers, Lobbyists Urge Caution on Nebraska Autonomous Car Bill

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March 2, 2017—At a legislative committee hearing on Tuesday, lobbyists for auto manufacturers and dealers cautioned Nebraska to be careful to not overregulate self-driving vehicles as technology continues to develop, the Associated Press reports.

A bill sponsored by Sen. Tyson Larson of O'Neill would create provisions allowing for autonomous vehicles in the state. Nebraska is now among the majority of states that don't acknowledge the emerging technology's existence in statutes, even as more companies have begun testing self-driving cars.

Drivers could see self-driving cars on many roadways as early as 2020, said John Lindsay, a lobbyist for the Auto Alliance. He urged the committee to make sure any legislation is loose enough not to interfere as manufacturers continue developing autonomous vehicles.

Loy Todd, president of the Nebraska New Car and Truck Dealers Association, told the committee he wants to avoid any legislation that could prevent dealers from selling self-driving cars when they're commercially available. Manufacturers including Ford, Volkswagen, Audi, General Motors, Toyota and Tesla have predicted several models should be on the market between 2018 and 2021.

"We want to sell these things," Todd said. "We want to sell them to everybody, and we don't want to accidentally get into a situation where we exclude one manufacturer or one type of vehicle for any reason other than safety."

The Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles is assembling a committee to study self-driving cars and policy questions connected to them, deputy director Julie Maaske said. She said Nebraska needs a plan for autonomous vehicles but also needs to learn more before creating regulations.

 

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