Kean: Assembly Dems Should Act to Keep NJ Driverless Vehicle Innovation Alive

driverlessNew Jersey Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean urged Assembly Democrat leaders to immediately advance legislation to provide entrepreneurs, developers and small businesses the protections and flexibility they need to further advance a safe and prosperous driverless vehicle industry in the Garden State.

Senator Kean’s call follows more news about states and European nations passing New Jersey in the quest to unleash driverless vehicles. He pointed to states, including California, which is continuing to exhibit the foresight and fortitude to enact policies that allow the safe development, testing and consumer operation of driverless vehicles on roads.

“California is not the only place where driverless vehicles are being developed, and big companies like Google are not the only ones creating them,” Kean said. “New Jersey has dozens of innovators and entrepreneurs collaborating with worldwide experts, professors and scientists to make the Garden State a hub for this technology of the future. I hope Assembly Democrats will see the light and pass Senate bill 734 before the end of this legislative session, so that these critical pro-safety and pro-economic growth policies can become law.”

One year ago today, the state Senate passed Senator Kean’s S-734, which would make New Jersey a hub for the development, testing and implementation of driverless vehicles.

This bill, which has bipartisan sponsorship in the Senate and Assembly, would make New Jersey the seventh U.S. state — and the first in the densely populated, fast-paced North East Region — to permit the testing and operation of autonomous vehicles. It charges the state Motor Vehicle Commission with establishing standards for licensing driverless vehicles and rules to cover safety, testing, insurance, registration and operation.

“Since I introduced this bill in June 2013, inaction has allowed a handful of states to pass New Jersey by enacting pro-driverless vehicle policies that create jobs and prosperity,” Kean said. “Our driverless vehicle innovators here have told us loudly and clearly, including some at public hearings, they will have to move to other states where they would be allowed to quickly and easily grow their companies and get their products to consumers.

“Elected officials should not be afraid to make New Jersey the innovation state, and there’s no good reason to let jobs and technologies that can change the world slip right out of our fingertips.”

S-734 is part of Senate Republican’s 36-bill package to jumpstart job creation and economic growth without costing taxpayers extra money. So far, 16 of the bills have garnered Senate Democrat sponsorship; 12 have garnered Assembly Democrat sponsorship; the Senate has advanced or fully passed 12 of them and the Assembly has advanced or passed a number of them as well. The governor recently signed into law an innovation bill to help start and grow small businesses by allowing private online investments.

[TLS]

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