Which states allow self-driving cars? (2022 Update)

People are talking more and more about autonomous vehicles, but are self-driving cars legal? Read on to find out everything you need to know about which states allow self-driving cars.

Free Auto Insurance Comparison

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific car insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. She also specializes in sustai...

Full Bio →

Written by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert Melanie Musson

Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Sara Routhier
Director of Outreach Sara Routhier

UPDATED: Jun 21, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident auto insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one auto insurance provider and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider. Our partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Things to remember...

  • No U.S. states specifically outlaw the use of self-driving vehicles on the road
  • There is specific legislation in 29 states concerning the use of self-driving cars
  • Depending on the car you drive and where you live, you may find that car insurance rates are higher for self-driving vehicles

If you’ve been paying attention to the news, you’ve noticed a rise in the discussion concerning self-driving cars. The automotive industry is working hard to make autonomous vehicles a reality, and we will likely see them on the road soon. 

But what are the laws concerning self-driving vehicles? Are self-driving cars legal? And how do different types of car insurance work for an autonomous vehicle? 

While some decisions concerning self-driving cars have already been solidified, plenty still needs to be done to ensure everyone’s safety once the vehicles are on the road. And we may find that the amount of required auto insurance coverage with self-driving vehicles will change as well. 

Which states allow self-driving cars? 

It can be pretty confusing when you try to figure out the states that do and don’t allow autonomous vehicles. As with many other issues, there are many different viewpoints on self-driving cars in the U.S. 

Currently, 29 states plus D.C. have passed legislation, governors in 10 states have issued executive orders, and nine states have laws that are pending or have failed altogether during the voting process. The remaining states have yet to take any action concerning self-driving cars.

The states that currently have legislation on self-driving vehicles include the following:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas 
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Not all attempts to pass legislation have been successful. Several states have attempted but have failed. Still, some states have yet to address the topic at all. As of now, no state in the U.S. has officially outlawed the use of self-driving cars. However, as autonomous vehicles get closer to a production date, state laws will likely become more specific. 

Free Auto Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What are the current laws regarding self-driving cars?

Laws are difficult to pin down when it comes to autonomous vehicles. For example, in some states, self-driving cars are exempt from specific traffic laws when controlled by electronically coordinated speeds. In other states, various tests require approval before self-driving vehicles are allowed on the road.

Many states in the U.S. have neglected to address the topic of autonomous vehicles altogether. While this is likely to change over time, it is difficult to determine where you can and cannot own a self-driving car for everyday use.

Are self-driving cars legal and safe?

Congress introduced a bill in 2018 that created a baseline for testing and assessments concerning the operation of autonomous vehicles. Unfortunately, this bill has still not been voted into action. Concerning federal law, there aren’t any rules concerning autonomous vehicles. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has suggested specific guidelines for producing and operating autonomous vehicles.

According to the NHTSA, autonomous vehicles can be safer than those driven by people, but the comprehensive technology to ensure the safety of those vehicles won’t be created and produced until after 2025. Until then, the NHTSA and other testing groups are working to further develop the different levels of autonomous cars. 

These levels include the following:

  • No automation. The driver is responsible for doing all the driving without any help from the vehicle.
  • Driver assistance. The vehicle helps steer or speed up/slow down, but the motorist performs all other duties.
  • Partial automation. The car helps with one or more systems while the motorist does the rest.
  • Conditional automation. The vehicle completes all responsibilities, but the motorist intervenes when necessary.
  • High automation. The car completes all driving responsibilities even if the driver does not intervene.
  • Full automation. The vehicle completes all duties without a driver on all roads in all conditions.

With each new level of automation comes a higher dependence on the machine and the technology involved to navigate and operate a vehicle. Some of the most significant benefits when the U.S. reaches fully automated vehicles include safety, mobility, efficiency, and convenience.

What companies are working on self-driving vehicles?

Several companies are working on autonomous vehicles at the moment. Tesla, Cruise, Waymo by Alphabet Inc., and Aurora are just a few. These companies have enjoyed billions of dollars in investments over the past 10 years. Now, investors are pressuring companies to make and develop the finished product.

There is no current framework for a national set of rules and regulations for self-driving cars in the U.S. As a result, certain companies have been able to produce and utilize self-driving vehicles at a micro-level.

For instance, some autonomous vehicle companies have deployed robo-taxis and self-driving trucks in limited areas of Arizona and Texas. Similarly, Waymo has provided thousands of rides to people in robo-taxis in Phoenix, though access to all of these services is difficult to find.

Free Auto Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Is there pushback concerning self-driving vehicles?

People have always been skeptical of autonomous vehicles. Most people cite a genuine concern for safety and control over their car. In addition, unions throughout the U.S. disapprove of using self-driving vehicles in the commercial space.

Many believe autonomous vehicles could cause hundreds of thousands of people to lose their jobs in manufacturing and front-line transportation. This number will grow if laws are not passed to regulate the use of self-driving cars and trucks. 

Union members and average citizens are concerned that there is not enough information about accidents and other safety data regarding autonomous vehicles. Additionally, because motor vehicle companies are legally allowed to certify that a particular feature is safe, many are concerned about the long-term effects of limited testing.

Will self-driving cars need different insurance?

As of now, self-driving cars will require the same types and amounts of coverage as every other vehicle on the road. However, car insurance requirements vary from state to state, so insurance requirements for autonomous cars will likely also vary.  

Once autonomous vehicles become a reality, we may see insurance requirements for those vehicles shift and adapt. This will likely result from data concerning accidents and other damage risks.

Which states allow self-driving cars? The Bottom Line

Autonomous vehicles are being developed rapidly, and it’s likely that we will see them on the road and available for personal use within the next few years. But where you live will dictate whether you can use your self-driving vehicle. While laws exist on a state level now, we may get clear federal regulations as developments progress.

Some people have concerns about the safety of autonomous vehicles, and unions have pointed out how the use of self-driving trucks may negatively impact the workforce. All of these factors may affect when autonomous cars are produced and how we are legally allowed to use them.

If you purchase an autonomous vehicle in the future, pay attention to insurance requirements. If possible, carry more coverage than is legally required to be better protected if you’re ever in an accident.

Free Auto Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption