Ongoing Legislative Updates

On Monday, March 18, 2019 Governor Phil Murphy signed into law AJR -164 establishing “New Jersey Advanced Autonomous Vehicle Task Force.” The legislation passed both the Assembly and the Senate unanimously creating an 11 members taskforce, with one of the members to be appointed by the Governor to be a licenses Professional Engineer. The group would be responsible for conducting a study of autonomous vehicles and recommending laws, rules, and regulations that the state may enact to safely integrate these vehicles on the roads.

An advanced autonomous vehicle would be defined as a motor vehicle with a driving automation level of three, four, or five, as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers International, and is used by the United States Department of Transportation for autonomous vehicle policy guidance. Level three vehicles are classified as having conditional automation, during which an autonomous system operates under certain conditions with human drivers as a back-up; level four vehicles have high automation, such as Google’s test cars; and level five cars are fully automated and do not have a steering wheel.

Additionally, the task force would conduct an evaluation of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s safety standards for advanced autonomous vehicles and whether the state may enact stricter safety standards; an evaluation of existing state and federal law concerning advanced autonomous vehicles with a focus on safety standards; an evaluation of existing legislation and regulations in other states concerning advanced autonomous vehicles with a focus on safety standards; recommendations on how New Jersey could safely integrate advanced autonomous vehicles on the highways, streets, and roads; any other information relevant to the subject of the report; and any draft legislation the task force deems appropriate.

Once enacted, New Jersey would join Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Oregon in using a task force to study the implementation of autonomous vehicles.

Here is the law as signed:

A Joint Resolution establishing the “New Jersey Advanced Autonomous Vehicle Task Force.”

Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

1. a. There is established a task force to be known as the “New Jersey Advanced Autonomous Vehicle Task Force.” The purpose of the task force shall be to conduct a study of advanced autonomous vehicles and to make recommendations on laws, rules, and regulations that this State may enact or adopt to safely integrate advanced autonomous vehicles on the State’s highways, streets, and roads.

b. The task force shall consist of 11 members as follows:

(1) the Commissioner of Transportation, who shall serve ex officio, or the commissioner’s designee;

(2) the Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, who shall serve ex officio, or the chief administrator’s designee;

(3) the Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety in the Department of Law and Public Safety, who shall serve ex officio, or the director’s designee;

(4) a commissioner of the Board of Public Utilities, selected by the Governor, who shall serve ex officio, or that commissioner’s designee;

(5) five public members, who shall be appointed by the Governor, one with an expertise in highway traffic safety, one with an expertise in autonomous vehicle technology , one with an expertise in automotive manufacturing, one who is licensed in this State as a professional engineer pursuant to P.L.1938, c.342 (C.45:8-27 et seq.) , and one, who shall be appointed by the Governor upon the recommendation of the Commissioner of the Department of Banking and Insurance, with an expertise in automobile insurance;

(6) one public member appointed by the Governor upon the recommendation of the President of the Senate, with an expertise in highway traffic safety; and

(7) one public member appointed by the Governor upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the General Assembly, with an expertise in autonomous vehicle technology.

c. Within 90 days after the effective date of P.L.2019, J.R.2, the task force’s authorized membership shall be appointed and the task force shall hold its initial meeting. The task force shall organize upon the appointment of a majority of its authorized membership and shall elect a chair from among its members. The members of the task force shall serve for the duration of the existence of the task force. Any vacancy shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment. The task force members shall serve without compensation, but shall be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties to the extent that funds are available for that purpose.

d. Not later than 180 days after the initial meeting of the task force, the task force shall issue a report to the Governor and, pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), to the Legislature, which shall include, but not be limited to: an evaluation of existing State laws that may unreasonably impede the testing and operation of autonomous vehicles on public roads in this State; an evaluation of existing state and federal law concerning advanced autonomous vehicles with a focus on licensing, registration, insurance, liability, law enforcement and accident reporting, land use, road and infrastructure design, public transit, and workforce changes; recommendations for implementing advanced autonomous vehicle pilot programs to promote the safe testing and operation of advanced autonomous vehicles on public roads in this State; an evaluation of existing legislation and regulations in other states concerning advanced autonomous vehicles; recommendations on how this State could safely integrate advanced autonomous vehicles on its highways, streets, and roads; any other information relevant to the subject of the report; and any draft legislation the task force deems appropriate to implement the purposes of P.L.2019, J.R.2, which shall be consistent with federal law, regulations, and policy guidance.

e. The task force shall be entitled to the assistance and services of the employees of any State board, bureau, commission, or agency as it may require, and as may be available to it for these purposes including, but not limited to, stenographic and clerical assistants within the limits of funds appropriated or otherwise made available to it for its purposes.

f. The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, the Department of Transportation, and the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey shall assist the task force in the performance of its duties and provide the task force with studies, data, or other materials in the possession of those entities, to the extent that such are relevant to the purposes of the task force.

g. As used in P.L.2019, J.R.2:

“Advanced autonomous vehicle” means a motor vehicle equipped with autonomous technology that has a driving automation level of three, four, or five, as defined in the SAE J3016, which is an automated driving system standard issued by the Society of Automotive Engineers International and is used by the United States Department of Transportation for autonomous vehicle policy guidance.

2. This act shall take effect immediately and shall expire upon the issuance of the report submitted by the task force pursuant to section 1 of P.L.2019, J.R.2.

S-2960 /A-3989 – Provides State information technology contracts will require use of software to document computer use by contractor.

This bill provides that any contract entered into by a State agency for the purchase of goods or services, or for the construction of any public work, having a value in excess of $100,000 will require the contractor to use software to verify that all hours billed for work under the contract for services performed on a computer are eligible charges. Every such contract must specifically provide that the State agency will not pay for hours worked on a computer unless the hours are verifiable by software or by data collected by software. The bill provides specific functions that this software must perform in order to document computer use in performance of a contract. It will apply to agencies in the Executive Branch of State government and to independent State authorities, commissions, instrumentalities, or agencies.

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