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Politics // The Right Price
Larry Price

Legislating Driverless Vehicles

The state Legislature is in full swing and legislators are adding a lot of new political verbiage to our everyday conversations. There are a lot of public employees who can hardly wait for a broadly written proposed bill to stop the bullying of public employees by fellow public employees. They call this “abusive conduct,” as perceived by a “reasonable” person. The best part is it will be using the state’s workers compensation laws, where, “lacking substantial evidence to the contrary, the court will rule for the plaintiff.” If this bill becomes law, even with dramatic amendments, it would be a real challenge to the management of public employees. Legal language in the laws leaves a lot of room for abuse.

They also have proposed that the University of Hawaii allow “resident non-citizens” access to any available financial scholarships, because to deny them financial aid would create severe hardships while pursuing a college education. These “resident noncitizens”are people who do not have lawful immigration status.

The latest “rabbit out of the hat” proposal to pop out at the Legislature is HB 2238, relating to motor vehicles. With the help of the director of transportation, in consultation with the insurance commissioner, those who examine drivers are being asked to provide a driver’s license for the operation of autonomous motor vehicles on highways within the state.

You are probably wondering what it takes to be an “autonomous motor vehicle.” This is a great proposal. Be advised that an autonomous motor vehicle is a vehicle that uses artifical intelligence and global positioning systems to drive itself. Artificial intelligence requires the use of computers and related equipment to duplicate the behavior of a human being. The first task for legislators is to come up with requirements for autonomous motor vehicles before any may be operated on a state highway.

Additionally, they must prescribe requirements for mandatory insurance coverage before any autonomous motor vehicle may be operated on a state highway. I think this a very good idea.

This is no joking matter. They are talking about a real car, one made of metal, not foam rubber, driving around the state with no one at the wheel. This kind of gives new meaning to keeping both hands on the wheel. Four or five states on the Mainland have already adopted this kind of legislation to accommodate autonomous vehicles.

I find this kind of proposed legislation to be really interesting when we can’t keep water mains from exploding once a week and still have not found an intelligent way to repair potholes on our byways and highways.

Oh, yes, I forgot to mention that the “autonomous” vehicles are required to have increased warranty reimbursement to dealers. This bill has time to be amended because it would become effective July 1, 3000. I think that’s more evidence of good thinking, because there are a lot of kinks to work out before those “autonomous motor vehicles” take to our highways.

Yes, the year 3000. Why’s everyone always in such a hurry?

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