Today’s Pickup: State Laws May Limit Potential of Platoons

Freight Waves covers Marc Scribner’s Authorizing Automated Vehicle Platooning: A Guide for State Legislators, 2017 Edition.

While platooning vehicles are close to real-world operation, the world itself may not be ready for them. According to a guide for legislators created by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the varied nature of state laws may limited where platooning vehicles may operate.

“With the coming advent of automated vehicles, numerous sections of state motor vehicle codes likely will need revision if we are to take advantage of the full range of benefits offered by vehicle automation technology,” wrote Marc Scribner. “Authorizing automated vehicle platoons in each jurisdiction merely requires exempting automated vehicle platoons from existing follow-too-closely (FTC) rules.”

If only it was that easy. Scribner notes that some states have several vehicle classes and FTC laws can sometimes stretch across classes. There are also time-based laws that stipulate the time interval between vehicles and other distance rules. For instance, in Alabama, a “driver of a vehicle shall leave a distance of at least 20 feet for each 10 miles per hour of speed between the vehicle that he or she is driving and the vehicle that he or she is following.”

Read the full article at Freight Waves.