Barris, Sott, Denn & Driker, P.L.L.C. | <strong >Summary of Recent Autonomous Vehicle Legislation in Michigan</strong > By: Erica L. Fitzgerald
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  • Summary of Recent Autonomous Vehicle Legislation in Michigan By: Erica L. Fitzgerald
    Changes to Michigan Vehicle Code
    1.  Senate Bill 995 – effective December 9, 2016 (numerous changes to MCL 257; 2016 PA 332)
    • Statutes were amended in 2014 to account for operation of autonomous vehicles.  This summary reflects only the amendments from December 2016
    • Allows autonomous vehicles to operate on roadways if they are (a) in a SAVE project; (b) in an on-demand automated motor vehicle network; or (c) in a platoon of electronically coordinated autonomous vehicles
    •  “SAVE projects” are initiatives that authorize eligible OEMs to make on-demand automated motor vehicle networks available to the public
    • “On-demand automated motor vehicle networks” are digital networks or software applications used to connect passengers to automated motor vehicles for transportation
    • Allows passengers in autonomous vehicles to send text messages, read on phones, and operate the motor vehicle network
    • An OEM or supplier of automated driving technology is not liable for damages from modifications made without consent from the OEM or supplier
    2.  Senate Bill 996 – effective December 9, 2016 (added new MCL 257.665b; 2016 PA 333)
    • Formerly, automated motor vehicles could not be operated on a highway or street in automatic mode, except for limited research and testing as specifically provided in MCL 257.665-665b
    • Allows OEMs to operate “SAVE projects” if the vehicles satisfy certain criteria, such as automatic crash notification technology and a data recording system, and operate within certain types of geographical boundaries
    • Provides that automated driving system is considered driver/operator of vehicle for purposes of compliance with motor vehicle code
    • OEM assumes liability for accidents while operating SAVE project
    3.  Senate Bill 997 – effective December 9, 2016 (amends MCL 257.601a; 2016 PA 334)
    • Allows enforcement of the Michigan Vehicle Code on private roads
    • Private roads within “mobility research centers” for autonomous vehicle testing are excepted from this statute, so the Michigan Vehicle Code is not enforceable in general.  “Mobility research centers” are nonprofit facilities for testing autonomous vehicles
    Changes to Revised Judicature Act
    4.  Senate Bill 998 – effective March 9, 2017 (amends MCL 600.2949b; 2016 PA 335)
    • OEM and applicable supplier are not liable if person attempts to convert vehicle or component to autonomous operation
    • Mechanic that repairs autonomous vehicle according to OEM specs is not liable for damages resulting from repairs
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