Rep. Mark Harmsworth selected for Autonomous Vehicle Work Group

Rep. Mark Harmsworth was recently selected to assist in developing policy recommendations for the use of autonomous vehicles on public roadways in Washington state. The lawmaker’s appointment to the Autonomous Vehicle Work Group was recently confirmed by the Speaker of the state House of Representatives.

“It’s exciting to be a part of this group. Autonomous vehicles have the potential to dramatically change our daily lives. Its arguably one of the biggest innovations in transportation since the Model T,” said Harmsworth, R-Mill Creek. “With the right public policy, we can move forward with this technology, maximizing the benefits of self-driving cars and minimizing the risks.”

Automated driving systems, also known as autonomous vehicles (AVs), are vehicles in which some or all of the driving functions are performed by the vehicle, not a person. House Bill 2970, signed into law by the governor in March, directs the Washington State Transportation Commission to form an executive and legislative work group to propose modifications to state law to address the emergence of AV technology and driverless vehicles.

The Autonomous Vehicle Work Group will also make proposals on how the technology can best be implemented within existing transportation system goals. Stakeholders, focus groups and public opinion will be sought as Harmsworth, and the other appointees of the working group, develop policy proposals for AV technology. The group’s findings and recommendations will be reported to the governor and other relevant legislative committees in November of each year.

Harmsworth says that although AV technology is still in its infancy, it could have profound implications on Washington’s transportation systems.

“It’s time for the government to keep up. Most people already use auto sensors and cameras in their cars. Driverless vehicles, especially for commercial transport and ride-sharing, are emerging. This could be a real game-changer for road safety, reducing traffic congestion and lowering our state’s energy consumption,” added Harmsworth.


Washington State House Republican Communications