Legislators debate the safety of self-driving cars, but in the end advance to final reading a bill authorizing them in Nebraska.
Sen. Anna Wishart of Lincoln sponsors the measure (LB 989) and tells colleagues most accidents now are caused by human error and autonomous vehicle technology has the capability of eliminating nearly all of that.
“I want to remind everybody that human beings, we have already made the decision to stop paying attention to the road,” Wishart tells colleagues during legislative floor debate. “If you drive out today, look at all the people who are texting while they’re driving. We have already made a decision to stop paying attention. And so, we need to move forward with the technology, like driverless car systems, that’s going to save lives by eliminating human error.”
Wishart first proposed a pilot program for Lincoln. An amendment expanded it to authorizing autonomous vehicles across Nebraska.
LB 989 is scheduled for a final vote when the legislatures returns for its 60th day Wednesday.
Sen. Curt Friesen of Henderson objects to expanding the bill from a pilot program to full authorization.
“Look at the risks involved,” Friesen tells colleagues. “We had a program that was set out to expand; it could have easily been changed over the next year. It would have given a soft start. It would have looked at some of the issues over the summer. We could have addressed them in a responsible way. And now I feel we’re putting the safety of individuals at risk in order to be first.”