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Washington state looking into rules for self-driving cars

Self-driving cars may be years away on Washington roads, but transportation officials are reviewing rules and possible laws in November.

OLYMPIA, Wash — It will be years, if not decades, before self-driving cars are common on Washington’s highways.

But state legislators want some rules on the books before that happens.

In November, the Washington State Transportation Commission will present Governor Jay Inslee and lawmakers with recommendations for rules and potential laws regarding autonomous vehicles.

State law established a work group to come up with final recommendations in 2023.

During a presentation to the committee on Wednesday, work group members presented possible recommendations to members of the Transportation Commission.

Self-driving vehicle testers might have to obtain $5 million insurance policies.

Drivers may be prohibited from watching videos while supervising test runs.

An operator in Arizona in 2018 was watching a video on her phone moments before a self-driving car hit and killed a bicyclist.

In addition to safety measures, the work group is also looking at licensing requirements. Autonomous vehicle operators might need to have special licenses.

Commission member Roy Jennings wondered if licenses would be needed at all.

“Can I put my six-year-old kid in there and send them to Grandma’s?” asked Jennings.

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