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Kansas Senate Mulls Bill to Allow, Regulate Commercial AVs

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KEYWORDS AVs Kansas law senate
An aerial view of an interstate highway.

Feb. 4, 2022—The Kansas Legislature is discussing a bill that would allow for the use of some autonomous vehicles in the state.

The bill would create a statewide framework for permitting and managing driverless vehicle deployment if approved, according to a report from the Kansas Reflector. If passed, the bill would prevent cities or counties from implementing policies to regulate or prohibit AVs on their own. The bill would require any company owning an AV to have insurance and for a remote operator to have a commercial driver's license. 

The law has received backing from Walmart and AV developer Gatik, who argue having autonomous vehicles could help significantly help combat the national commercial truck driving shortage. Mike O'Neal, a Walmart representative, said his company and Gatik would agree to a provision that would require an individual to be in an AV for the first 12 months of operation to establish a safety record. 

“In today’s environment, particularly, the timing of this is very good because we know we’re having some pretty serious supply-chain issues and companies are having to innovate,” Walmart representative Mike O’Neal said.

Kansas is one of six states, including neighboring Missouri and Oklahoma, that have not passed some form of law that allows and regulates AVs.

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