Vehicle Platooning for Safety and Efficiency Act


This legislation enables vehicle platooning operations. Vehicle platooning systems enhance efficiency by enabling aerodynamic drafting. While platooning, a lead vehicle is followed by one or more other vehicles at a close distance by relying on connected and automated braking systems and other safety technologies, which together comprise a vehicle platooning system. This legislation will update state laws to account for this technology and will unleash innovation in the freight trucking sector, thus allowing trucking fleets to improve vehicle safety and efficiency. The legislation is particularly relevant to legislators in states with vehicle codes that apply a numeric minimum following distance standard generally to all vehicles or specifically to categories of vehicles such as commercial vehicles, vehicles drawing other vehicles, or motorcades/caravans. These standards prohibit vehicle following within a defined distance or time that is outside the bounds of safe and efficient vehicle platooning, and therefore inhibits market adoption. (States with a numeric standard currently include AL, CA, DE, FL, IN, IA, KY, LA, ME, MN, MS, MO, NJ, NM, OK, UT, WV and WI, as well as AR, MI, NV and TN which already have modified their numeric standards to allow limited vehicle platooning.) In addition, the legislation may also be relevant to legislators in states with a non-numeric (e.g. “reasonable and prudent”) minimum following distance standard which may currently allow for vehicle platooning, but which legislators may nonetheless seek to amend to clarify allowance of vehicle platooning. (States with a non-numeric standard currently include AK, CO, CT, HI, ID, IL, KS, MA, MD MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NY, OR, PA, RI, SD, VA, VT, WA, and WY, as well as AZ, GA, OH, SC, and TX which already have clarified their non-numeric standards either legislatively or administratively to allow for limited vehicle platooning.

Vehicle Platooning for Safety and Efficiency Act

Section 1.  (Legislative Declarations)

Subdivision 1.  A vehicle platooning system electronically coordinates the speed between a lead vehicle and one or more follow vehicles, enabling them to travel safely in a unified manner at close following distances.  A vehicle platooning system relies on a connected and automated braking system, which allows a follow vehicle to coordinate braking and following distance with a lead vehicle through direct vehicle-to-vehicle communication.

Subdivision 2.  A vehicle platooning system can improve the safety of public roads by using best-in-class automated braking systems, lane departure warning, sensors, and software, which can operate at all times to help avoid crashes. This improves the safety of equipped trucks at all times, whether they are in solo or platoon operations.

Subdivision 3.  A vehicle platooning system can improve the economic competitiveness of trucking fleets by enhancing vehicle fuel efficiency.  Freight trucks transport the critical goods that Americans sell, purchase, and rely on every day, and fuel often represents the largest single trucking fleet operating cost.  Vehicle platooning systems can lower that cost by reducing aerodynamic drag for both lead and follow vehicles when they travel safely at close following distances, thereby improving fuel efficiency.

Section 2.  (Definitions)

Subdivision 1.  Platoon.  Platoon means a group of individual motor vehicles traveling in a unified manner at electronically coordinated speeds at following distances that are closer than would be reasonable and prudent without such coordination.

Section 3.  (Exemption)

[Insert all state following distance code sections] shall not apply to the operator of a non-lead vehicle in a Platoon.