State representative introducing bill on autonomous vehicles

Salt Lake City, Utah- (News4Utah) – Technology is changing the automobile industry as we know it, and more drastic developments are in the works.

State Representative Robert Spendlove wants Utah to be a driving force in the autonomous vehicle industry.

"When you look at our tech talent, the Silicon Slopes, when you look at our business friendly environment, when you look at our geography we really are an ideal place to be testing and developing these vehicles," said Spendlove, (R) District 45.

He's introducing a bill that will pave the way. It will change the definition of an operator under current law, and provide flexible guidelines for research, testing and eventually, roll-out.

He says it could have a far reaching impact on all aspects of life, including agriculture, trucking and ride sharing.

"Uber, right now is operating self-driving vehicles for passengers in both Phoenix and Pittsburgh. I'd love to see them in Salt Lake," said Spendlove.

At the International Auto Expo in Sandy opinions are mixed.

Mel Ortega says he'll always want to be in control, but sees the benefit for others.

"I think it's a great idea for the people that are disabled, or are senior citizens that can't drive themselves," said Ortega.

For the Allen family, it's a house divided. Jerry says sign me up.

"I would have one in a second,"

His wife Carol says no way.

"I'm really afraid of them, I am. I know that we have wonderful technology, but I have trouble with just a real person behind it, I'm scared of nobody being there."

Safety is a concern nationwide, but Spendlove says a truly autonomous car would cut down on human error.

"Last year in Utah over 300 people died from car accidents, 90% of those were from human error," said Spendlove.

He will introduce that bill in the upcoming legislative session, which begins January 22, 2018.

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