Arizona says closely monitoring use of self-driving vehicles

FILE PHOTO: A self-driving GM Bolt EV is seen during a media event where Cruise, GM's autonomous car unit, showed off its self-driving cars in San Francisco

(Reuters) -Arizona is closely monitoring the testing and use of self-driving vehicles in the state, its transportation department said on Wednesday, a day after California barred General Motors' Cruise from operating its driverless cars.

The Arizona Department of Transportation said it was aware of the announcement from California and was closely monitoring the situation.

"Public safety is our highest priority, and we are in regular communication with and closely monitoring Cruise and other companies testing and operating self-driving vehicles in Arizona," it said in a statement.

California's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) suspended Cruise's autonomous vehicle deployment and driverless testing permit, calling the vehicles a risk to the public and saying the company had "misrepresented" the safety of the technology.

On Tuesday, the office of Los Angeles city council member Hugo Soto-Martínez said he would introduce a motion "urging officials in the state to address public safety concerns around autonomous vehicles (AVs) and rein in the expansion of robotaxis in Los Angeles." The office cited both Waymo and Cruise in the statement.

In July, the backup safety driver behind the wheel of a self-driving Uber test vehicle that struck and killed a woman in Arizona in 2018 pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation.

Transport departments of Texas, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Florida, the Department of Motor Vehicles in Nevada and authorities in Dallas and Nashville did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Companies such as Cruise, Alphabet's Waymo and Uber are testing their self-driving car technology in these states and cities.

(Reporting by Akash Sriram and Juby Babu in Bengaluru and Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco and Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Anil D'Silva)