CA Autonomous Vehicle Ban Would Perpetuate Traffic Safety Crisis

Senator Cortese introduces SB 915, allowing municipalities to ban AVs

Feb 2, 2024

At a press conference on Friday, Senator Dave Cortese pushed for new legislation allowing local cities and municipalities to ban autonomous vehicles (AVs) on local streets, despite new research showing that AVs are safer than human drivers. Last year was one of California’s deadliest for roadway fatalities, largely because of human behaviors including distracted driving, drunk driving, and speeding. The legislation by Sen. Cortese takes control away from state-level agencies like the DMV and California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) which have approved the rollout of safer autonomous vehicles.

“Right now there’s a traffic safety crisis on our streets, but instead of solving that crisis, lawmakers are introducing legislation that would move California in the opposite direction by banning autonomous vehicles at the local level,” said Chamber of Progress CEO Adam Kovacevich. “This is the California housing and homelessness crisis all over again. Local lawmakers are squashing a good idea because of not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) sentiment, and the result is a disaster for public health and safety.”

New, groundbreaking research comparing AV safety to human driver safety shows just how much better AVs perform in terms of safety. A recent study examined AVs deployed in San Francisco, Phoenix, and Los Angeles and human drivers in those same cities – the first study to make a true apples-to-apples comparison – and found that AVs reduced crashes with an injury by an estimated 85 percent over human drivers.

For more on the benefits of AV deployment, including for marginalized communities, read Chamber of Progress’s report, Autonomous Vehicles: Leveraging Technology for

Diverse Community Benefit.


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