Vol. 4 Issue 1 | April 2017
NCSL offers a range of transportation policy services to legislators and legislative staff, including state-by-state analysis of transportation issues, technical assistance, tailored responses to policy questions and in-person meetings to learn from other states and national experts.
The Transporter is a periodic newsletter highlighting key state and federal legislation and developments impacting transportation policy. The newsletter provides updates on the latest state transportation news, trends, recent publications, upcoming meetings and more.
NCSL is pleased to return to Boston for the 2017 Legislative Summit, taking place Aug. 6 - 9. With a jam-packed, substantive agenda and the opportunity to network with fellow legislative peers, Legislative Summit is the preeminent gathering for state legislatures. Registration is now open and Summit details are starting to take shape. Transportation-wise, there will be sessions focused on infrastructure financing and autonomous vehicles. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
All Things Autonomous as States Navigate Towards a Driverless Future
As autonomous vehicles continue to garner increased attention from lawmakers and the media, NCSL has expanded our resources on this topic. Our new webpage provides links to numerous autonomous vehicles resources, including our new Autonomous Vehicles Legislative Database for bill tracking on all introduced state legislation addressing autonomous vehicles. The database allows you to search for certain topics, such as licensing and registration, testing, liability and insurance, and operator requirements, among others.
So far in 2017, 28 states have considered legislation relating to self- driving cars or “autonomous vehicles.” Find out which states have enacted legislation and what the requirements are to operate this revolutionary technology in NCSL’s new LegisBrief.
Each year NCSL releases a traffic safety trends report with the latest traffic safety research and summaries of state legislative action on topics ranging from impaired driving, distracted driving, motorcycle safety and many others. The report also includes the latest developments in federal law and has charts with information on state laws from all 50 states. Read the recently released Traffic Safety Trends: State Legislative Action 2016 now.
You may have seen the recent estimates that 2016 will be the first year since 2007 that traffic deaths have topped 40,000. In a new feature article for State Legislatures magazine, NCSL staff analyzes the troubling trend, and takes a closer look at how some states are seeking to reduce dangerous behavior-related choices such as impaired and distracted driving, speeding and neglecting to buckle up.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), in 2014, red-light running caused 171,000 traffic crashes nationwide, which led to approximately 126,000 injuries and 709 deaths. Some communities are installing red light cameras to reduce these crashes, while others are considering halting their programs. NCSL Automated Enforcement expert Anne Teigen examines what action states are taking on this hot topic in NCSL’s Red Light Camera Traffic Enforcement LegisBrief.
Autocycle? What’s that? States are grappling with the same question as they seek to statutorily define these three-wheeled vehicles and address safety, licensing, operation and passenger requirements. Learn more in NCSL’s Autocycle Transportation Review.
When defects or safety issues are found in a vehicle, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issues a recall. There were 927 separate recalls affecting 53.2 million vehicles in 2016. Learn more about federal and state action to address vehicle recalls in NCSL’s new LegisBrief.
NCSL Transportation Funding expert, Kevin Pula, highlights the legislative activity across the country related to increasing funding for transportation budgets in this short State Legislatures magazine article. At least 16 states are actively considering legislation to increase motor fuel taxes, the single largest source of state transportation funding. Leaders in at least eight other states have voiced their intent to debate this issue in 2017 legislative sessions.
More than 30 state legislators, legislative staff and state department of transportation staff from 14 states joined NCSL in January in Scottsdale, Arizona for the BATIC Institute P3 Basics Training. NCSL and the BATIC Institute will be co-hosting another P3 Basics Training on Saturday Aug. 5 and Sunday Aug. 6th, in Boston in conjunction with NCSL’s Legislative Summit. This is space-limited event, please contact Kevin Pula if you would like further information about attending.
NCSL released a comprehensive report on state unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or drones) legislation in June 2016. In March, NCSL drones expert Amanda Essex unveiled an update to the report, including information on all UAS legislation enacted in 2016. The update includes a breakdown of legislation by significant topics, including privacy, commercial and governmental use, criminal penalties for misuse and security concerns, among others. NCSL continues to track enacted legislation on the Current Unmanned Aircraft State Law Landscape webpage.
Did you know that there are a number of states that regulate the operation of drones near state capitol buildings? Policies exist in states such as Georgia, Texas, Washington and Montana. You can learn more about these policies in a February blog post.
Car sharing systems, which allow people to access a car on a short-term basis, are now available in many cities and towns throughout the U.S. NCSL’s Shared Mobility expert Douglas Shinkle shares insight on the different models of car sharing and how states are regulating and supporting car sharing systems in NCSL’s new report.
The past few years have seen a marked increase in the number of electric bicycles ("e-bikes") in the U.S. as well as an increase in state e-bike legislation. Learn more about e-bikes and what laws states are enacting to ensure their safe use in NCSL’s new primer on state e-bike laws.
Each year NCSL develops a resource summarizing key enacted legislation addressing 911. NCSL’s 2016 summary was published in February. At least 10 states passed legislation related to Next Generation 911 (NG911), allowing users to send text, video and picture messages in addition to making phone calls to 911. The resource was shared by 911.gov and NHTSA, along with Mission Critical Communications and the NG9-1-1 Institute. NCSL also maintains a 911 Legislation Tracking Database.
Did you know NCSL has two databases dedicated to tracking state transportation legislation besides our brand new Autonomous Vehicles Legislative Database? With NCSL’s State Traffic Safety Legislation Database, you can search for traffic safety related bills between 2007 and 2017 in 14 topic areas. This database is generously supported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. You can also peruse NCSL’s Transportation Funding and Finance Database to see how states are funding and financing their transportation systems.
NCSL participated in a discussion with members of the FAA’s Drone Advisory Subcommittee on Roles and Responsibilities. The subcommittee is tasked with helping the DAC to develop recommendations on how support the safe introduction of Unmanned Aircraft Systems into the National Airspace System.
Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine Chao stated that the administration will “probably” unveil its infrastructure package in the fall, following health care and tax reform. However, DJ Gribbin, special assistant to the president for infrastructure policy, recently said that the timing of an infrastructure package is “still a little bit up in the air.”
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the President’s 2018 Budget Blueprint, often referred to as the “skinny budget.” The blueprint requests $16.2 billion for DOT, a $2.4 billion, or 13 percent decrease, from the 2017 annualized continuing resolution (CR) level.
EPA announced its intent to review its Final Determination of the Mid-Term Evaluation of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emission Standards for Model Year 2022-2025 Light Duty Vehicles and coordinate its reconsideration process with the DOT. For more information, see NCSL’s Info Alert.
The American Society of Civil Engineers released its 8th Infrastructure Report Card, which provides a comprehensive assessment of the nation’s 16 major infrastructure categories. Cumulatively the nation’s infrastructure received a D+, with rail receiving the highest grade of a B, and transit receiving the lowest grade of a D-.