14 Mar 23

The most autonomous vehicle friendly states in the US

While 17 states in the United States allow for the deployment of autonomous vehicles (AV) without restriction of vehicle type, there are only seven that are free from the need of a backup driver.

They are California, Kansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia, the most AV friendly states in the country, according to 2022 data presented by International Association of Transportation Regulator (IATR) president Matthew Daus based out of New York.

When it comes to insurance, California and Tennessee require $5 million coverage and the remaining five require you to have liability insurance that satisfies existing insurance law.

“Legislation for AVs and Robo-taxis can get a bit confusing. There are too many agencies doing too many things, not to mention laws at the federal, state, and local levels to deal with, says Mr. Daus (pictured left), adding that local governments sometimes demand even more data collection than the federal government. 

Keep in mind that the US has a lot of lawyers and lawsuits and unlike some other countries, suing each other is quite common. Although lawsuits are usually against drivers and vehicle owners today, insurance models need to evolve as focus will need to be more on product liability than human actions.


Most AV friendly states

States (AV deployment is allowed, no backup driver required)

Liability insurance requirement


$5 million


must satisfy existing insurance law

North Carolina

must satisfy existing insurance law


$5 million


must satisfy existing insurance law


must satisfy existing insurance law

West Virginia

must satisfy existing insurance law

Deployment allowed

At the start of 2023, nearly half of the US states were permitting the deployment of AVs.

Besides the aforementioned seven states, 10 other states allow for the deployment of AVs without restriction of vehicle type but have backup driver requirements in at least some of the cases: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma.

Alabama, Arkansas, and Louisiana have also given the green light for deployment but only for commercial vehicles while Michigan and Pennsylvania are permitting autonomous deployment, but it depends on the type of the vehicle.

Testing allowed

The District of Colombia and 10 other states have been given the green light only for the testing of these types of vehicles: Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Vermont, Washington.

Considering the 33 states which allow deployment and testing, 14 of them require between $1mn-$5mn insurance coverage (mostly $5mn) and the rest require liability or self-insurance that satisfies existing insurance laws.

With that said, "although there are many hurdles when it comes to AVs and insurance coverage, we can overcome them if we focus on solving political and social economic issues by thinking outside the box," says Mr. Daus who is also Founder and Chair of the Transportation Practice Group at Windels Marx law practice. 

Full deployment will not occur without political will and legal structure. To achieve this, liability and accountability need to be clearer so that governments are not afraid to experiment with the development and deployment of this new vehicle evolution.

For more insight on what's taking place in terms of fleet and mobility in the United States and Canada, download your free copy of the first-ever Global Fleet E-book on North America. Get your free copy here

Top Photo: In 2022, Cruise (a GM backed company) kicked off its fully-electric AV taxi service in San Francisco. (courtesy of Cruise)

Authored by: Daniel Bland