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Assembly Approves Ting’s Legislation to Improve Public Safety When Autonomous Vehicles Operate On CA Streets

For immediate release:
Assembly Approves Ting’s Legislation to Improve Public Safety When Autonomous Vehicles Operate On CA Streets

With the bi-partisan approval of AB 1777 by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), the California State Assembly took steps today to strengthen public safety where autonomous vehicles (AVs) are operating. Following reports of several incidents in the last few months, the legislation ensures safety protocols and traffic laws are followed statewide to protect passengers, pedestrians, and other drivers.

“Our regulations need to catch up, as this technology becomes increasingly commonplace. I’m glad to see lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree that we can provide a trusted ride service to residents and visitors without slowing innovation,” said Ting, who rode in an AV last Fall and found it safe.

After months of engaging industry representatives and local transportation leaders, AB 1777 addresses two areas to increase accountability and oversight of robo-taxis, so that rides and roads are safer:


  • Can be cited for traffic violations, just like a human behind the wheel, when the vehicle is in AV mode
  • Must set up a dedicated phone line for first responders and create procedures to follow when such a call is received
  • Establish opt-in emergency geofencing, prohibiting driverless vehicles from accessing certain areas, such as construction zones and road closures, once notified by local government 

Data Collection

  • Submit to the state on a quarterly basis the number of vehicle miles traveled and the number of times an AV automatically stops on a public right-of-way
  • Give copy of collision reports currently required by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to the state every five days

With San Francisco a key market for AVs, improving public safety ensures the industry will continue to operate and contribute to the City’s turnaround. In addition to AB 1777, two other measures by Ting aim to stimulate economic growth locally: AB 2448 allows the conversion of empty office spaces in downtown San Francisco to housing; and AB 2359 expands the Neighborhood Liquor License Program to support small businesses in the outer commercial corridors. All three bills will now be considered by the Senate.