Local authority to regulate or prohibit delivery robots on sidewalks and streets maintained

February 11, 2020

SB 758 (Marsden) as originally written made several changes related to electric personal delivery devices (aka delivery robots), including changing the weight limit of such devices from 50 to 200 pounds and allowing speeds of up to 10 miles per hour. As introduced the bill eliminated the ability of localities to regulate or prohibit the use of delivery robots on sidewalks, crosswalks, or roadways. VACo worked with the patron and proponents of the measure on changes to retain local authority to regulate where such devices would be permitted.

As such, the governing body of any County, City, or Town may by ordinance still prohibit the use of electronic delivery devices on designated sidewalks or crosswalks. Additionally, in areas where a sidewalk or crosswalk is not accessible or available, a locality may by ordinance adopt requirements designed to maintain safety for the deployment of such devices on the side of roadways. Furthermore, such devices are prohibited from delivering hazardous materials requiring placarding required by regulation under the federal Hazardous Materials Transportation Act.

VACo appreciates the willingness of the patron to work in good faith to find compromise addressing many of the concerns of local governments on this issue. The bill was reported from the Senate Transportation Committee, 15-0, and the constitutional reading was dispensed by the full Senate on February 10.

VACo Contacts: Jeremy R. Bennett and Joe Lerch, AICP

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