Senator’s proposal would help prepare New Mexico for self-driving cars


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico lawmaker thinks it’s time the state starts thinking about futuristic travel. He believes self-driving cars will be here sooner than you think, and the state’s roads and rules aren’t ready for it.

They’ve been featured in movies for decades — self-driving cars are no longer an idea of the future, they’re here.

“It’s going on right now and it’s gonna happen in New Mexico and it’s moving faster than I thought it would be,” said Sen. James White.

White is proposing the state’s Department of Transportation create a committee to study autonomous vehicles and their technology, to potentially bring them to the state. Read the proposal >>

“They can see things a lot better than we can, all around the vehicle and react a lot faster than we can,” he said.

The senator said nationally, traffic accidents and fatalities are on the rise, and his overall goal is safety.

“If you can reduce a number of those deaths, think about the impact that’s gonna have on insurance rates, on hospital visits, on the automobile industry,” said White.

Semi-autonomous vehicles are already on the roads, and Arizona and Indiana have already laid out the welcome mat for companies to come test out their self-driving cars.

Some people are a fan of White’s idea, but others say, not so fast.

“I think the technology’s interesting and I’m excited by the prospects,” said Gerard Alonzo.

“I really think there’s a lot more important issues to deal with,” said Steven Fresquez.

However, White said self-driving cars are already headed our way; he just wants the state to prepare for it.

“The overall goal is to promote the industry, promote the safety and make sure it’s the right thing for New Mexico,” said White.

His proposal calls for a committee to recommend changes to New Mexico’s laws to allow the sale and operation of self-driving cars. The committee would be made up of representatives from the Department of Transportation, Department of Public Safety and Information Technology, to name a few.

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