Capitol View®

Bill would put brakes on driverless cars

A fatal accident involving a self-driving vehicle in Arizona is causing reverberations in Minnesota's Capitol.

Last week, a woman was struck and killed by a driverless test vehicle for Uber in Tempe, Ariz. That state's governor has demanded that Uber suspend the tests on streets in his state.

Minnesota Sen. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, said state laws here should be changed to bar automated driving systems until the companies behind the cars can prove they are safe.

"Arizona confirmed my concerns," Abeler said. "I've been hearing about this and am very worried about it. And very frankly the idea of driving home while you ride in the back seat is just a recipe for trouble."

Abeler and three other senators introduced a bill Tuesday that seeks the ban. Abeler doesn't expect it to pass this year but he wants to start the debate.

"People need to pay attention to what's happening," he said. "And I put the bill in today to make that point."