ESHB 1325

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

As Reported by Senate Committee On:

Transportation, April 4, 2019

Title: An act relating to the regulation of personal delivery devices.

Brief Description: Regulating personal delivery devices.

Sponsors: House Committee on Transportation (originally sponsored by Representatives Kloba, Steele, Walen, Fey and Slatter).

Brief History: Passed House: 3/12/19, 94-3.

Committee Activity: Transportation: 4/02/19, 4/04/19 [DPA].

Brief Summary of Amended Bill

  • Establishes a regulatory framework for the operation of personal delivery devices, which are automated devices intended to primarily deliver property via sidewalks and crosswalks.


Majority Report: Do pass as amended.

Signed by Senators Hobbs, Chair; Saldaña, Vice Chair; King, Ranking Member; Sheldon, Assistant Ranking Member; Cleveland, Das, Fortunato, Lovelett, Nguyen, O'Ban, Padden, Randall, Takko, Wilson, C. and Zeiger.

Staff: Kim Johnson (786-7472)

Background: There is currently no definition or regulation of ground based autonomous delivery devices in state law. Autonomous delivery robots or devices are currently reported to be authorized to operate on sidewalks and crosswalks in at least four states. Pilot programs have been or are currently underway in several cities in California, London, England, and most recently in Snohomish County, Washington.

Generally, local governments have jurisdiction over the the use of sidewalks within the boundary of the local government.

In several areas of law that allow exceptions to vehicle equipment standards and rules of the road, or both, the Department of Licensing (DOL) provides a process by which the vehicle owner self-certifies the vehicle meets the requirements of the law and the use of the vehicle must comply with the law.

Summary of Bill: The bill as referred to committee not considered.

Summary of Amended Bill: A personal delivery device (PDD) is defined as a device that is:

Operational Requirements for a PDD. Operational requirements for PDDs include:

Self-Certification. A business must submit a self-certification form to the DOL, on an annual basis The form must include:

A PDD is excluded from the definition of motor vehicle and the definition of vehicle, except with respect to certain rules of the road governing the use of sidewalks and crosswalks. In general, the operation of PDDs must adhere to the same rules of the road that apply to pedestrians. A PDD must yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian or a bicycle on a sidewalk or crosswalk. If no sidewalk is provided, the PDD must move when practicable only on the left side of the roadway or its shoulder, facing traffic, as pedestrians are allowed to do.

A violation of the terms of the regulations governing PDDs or the rules of the road is a traffic infraction, but is processed like a parking infraction. The notice of infraction must be issued to the registered agent within 14 days of the violation. The registered agent is responsible for the infraction.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Creates Committee/Commission/Task Force that includes Legislative members: No.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect on September 1, 2019.

Staff Summary of Public Testimony on Proposed Striking Amendment: PRO: This is a unique technological solution to delivery needs. My main concern is that we create a way to allow for us to all share the road/sidewalk.  We also wanted to keep the regulation fairly simple.  We need the safety data so that we can make sure that these devices are not causing any issues and to preserve public safety. It is important to note that this bill clarifies that these devices are not motor vehicles.

The devices have a number of safe guards. We have worked through a number of issues and have addressed the safety features that were of concern.  We pledge to continue to work through the process.

Persons Testifying: PRO: Representative Shelley Kloba, Prime Sponsor; Chelsea Hager, Starship Technologies.

Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying: No one.