The rapid development and adoption of connected and autonomous vehicles will transform the U.S. transportation system over the next 30 years. Although the widespread use of fully connected and autonomous vehicles is still several years away, it is nonetheless critical that legislators, policymakers, and regulators understand how the presence of these vehicles will restructure the operation of roadway networks. Without a doubt, lawmakers and policymakers will need to develop new laws — and revise existing ones — to account for the presence of connected and autonomous vehicles. This report provides an overview of connected and autonomous vehicles — their positives and negatives, how quickly consumers may adopt them, and strategies state departments of transportation can use to streamline their deployment — before examining the recent efforts at the federal and state level to establish laws and regulations that will smooth the transition for connected and autonomous vehicles. Federal agencies, such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, have issued guidance for manufacturers and state and local governments. Meanwhile, numerous states have enacted or proposed legislation to deal with connected and autonomous vehicles. The content of these statutes varies among states, however, shared areas of concern include defining what constitutes an autonomous vehicle, establishing basic protocols for testing autonomous vehicles on public roadways, specifying under what circumstances a manufacturer is liable for crashes, and setting guidelines for operating autonomous vehicles. Looking toward the Commonwealth, a review of the Kentucky Revised Statutes and Kentucky Administrative Regulations identifies current policies and regulations that may apply to connected and autonomous vehicles. Policymakers and legislators will likely have to grapple with issues pertaining to licensing, registration, cell phone usage, and the definition of vehicle operators in the context of autonomous vehicles. Given that the proliferation of connected and autonomous vehicles will accelerate over the next 10-15 years, Kentucky will benefit if these issues are addressed and resolved in a timely manner.

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© 2017 University of Kentucky, Kentucky Transportation Center

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The contents of this report reflect the views of the authors, who are responsible for the facts and accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the University of Kentucky, the Kentucky Transportation Center, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the United States Department of Transportation, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. The inclusion of manufacturer names or trade names is for identification purposes and should not be considered an endorsement.