Tesla Motors Inc EV owners in Ohio will be unhappy to learn that they may be prohibited from driving their cars on most roads in the state. Only companies that make self-driving cars or self-driving car technology will be allowed to use autonomous cars on Ohio’s public roads for ‘testing purposes’ under a new bill, says a report from WCPO.
Ohio roads banned for Tesla owners?
New tech brings new regulations at both state and national levels. A law such as the one being considered in Ohio would bar Tesla Motors Inc car owners with self-driving features from using their cars legally in most places even if they do not engage the autonomous feature and drive it manually, the report notes. If this bill is passed as law, a $10,000 per day fine could be imposed on people using a self-driving car if they are not ‘testing’ it.
Currently, the bill restricts the use of self-driving cars to only those companies that create the technology, but most likely changes will be made to it many times as more voices involved with the issue are heard, said, Rep. Cheryl Grossman, one of two state Republicans who introduced the bill.
Grossman said, “Many bills have a starting place, and will have 8 or 9 drafts before you come up with the final one. I thought it was important to have conversations on what we need here in Ohio. So just because it starts that way, doesn’t mean that’s how it’ll end up.”
Regulations meant to ensure driver safety
Under the bill’s requirements, the Ohio director of transportation (ODOT) would be required to produce a report to see if testing of self-driving cars in Ohio would need any additional regulations. It seems that the state is more willing to embrace self-driving cars and bring in new business that comes with it.
But before giving free reign to the autonomous cars, ODOT wants to prioritize the safety of Ohio’s drivers. Press Secretary at ODOT, Matt Bruning said they need to ensure that testing is done in a safe way, and that is the reason some of those early regulations are being seen.
“That will probably be the first round of what you’ll see in legislative debate in making sure these tests are done in a safe environment.”
Legislation involving autonomous vehicle technology has already been enacted in seven states and the District of Columbia. In the upcoming months, testing of self-driving cars might take place the Ohio Turnpike.
On Friday, Tesla Motors Inc shares closed up 1.68% at $190.56. Year to date, the stock is down almost 20% while in the last one-year, it is down almost 18%.