Print Version (PDF)



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                       

December 17, 2015


Sam Mahood (916) 653-6575


Secretary of State Padilla Issues Statement on Autonomous Vehicle Regulations


California Secretary of State Alex Padilla released the following statement on the Department of Motor Vehicles' release of draft regulations for autonomous vehicles: 

"Autonomous vehicle technology will prevent accidents and will greatly reduce injuries and fatalities. I firmly believe that we have a responsibility to facilitate the deployment of fully autonomous vehicles sooner rather than later. I authored the bill to encourage the development of autonomous vehicle technology because doing so is a moral imperative. This technology will save lives of real people, young and old." 

As a State Senator, Padilla authored SB 1298 (2012) to require the establishment of safety and performance standards for the safe operation of autonomous vehicles on California’s roads and highways. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among those aged 5-34. The vast majority of traffic fatalities and injuries are due to human error. A 2001 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that in 99% of car accidents, some form of driver error caused or contributed to the crash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2010 a total of 32,885 people died in the United States in car accidents. More than 2,700 of these traffic fatalities took place in California. 

Autonomous vehicles are the logical next step in automotive development. Through the use of computers, sensors and other systems, an autonomous vehicle can analyze the driving environment more quickly and operate the vehicle more safely without the active control of a human operator. 

Autonomous vehicle technology has the potential to significantly reduce traffic fatalities and injuries. It also has the potential to increase fuel efficiency, reduce traffic congestion, and increase highway capacity. 

The DMV will host public workshops to obtain input on the draft regulations in Sacramento on January 28, 2016, and in Los Angeles on February 2, 2016. 

The draft regulations are available here: