Wisconsin

Priorities: Democratic Lawmaker Focuses on Driverless Cars

Policy

By: Brian Sikma

The longest serving state lawmaker in the nation has seen a lot of change over his tenure in office, and now he seems to be focusing on the future. State Senator Fred Risser (D) sent out a press release on Valentines Day announcing his effort to enact legislation that would allow driverless vehicles on Wisconsin highways. “Currently, no state law explicitly permits the operation of driverless vehicles in Wisconsin,” the press release states.

Apparently, government must explicitly permit some things before you can do them now.

Risser says his bill, which is in the draft stage, is about innovation and driver safety. “Driverless cars will provide options for those who otherwise have difficulty getting around. They could also improve driver safety. In the near future, we may be able to program our destination into our car and arrive safely without ever turning the steering wheel,” his statement read.

Driverless cars have not exactly been a big part of the political and policy debate in Wisconsin recently.

If the bill is about driver safety, then state Representative Fred Clark (D) might be a great candidate for sponsoring the bill in the Assembly. Clark ran a red light at a Madison intersection in 2009 and smashed his vehicle into a bicyclist. Video of that event is below.

Rep. Clark’s office did not immediately respond to an inquiry on Monday about the possibility of sponsoring the proposed bill.

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