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CCBA Feature

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New Law
Legalizes
Robotic Deliveries
in Pennsylvania
By Robert C. Jefferson, IV, Esquire
Attorney at Gawthrop Greenwood

P

ennsylvania has a new law on the books that
legalizes the use of Personal Delivery Devices, but
municipalities are limited in the ways they can
regulate such devices.
Act No. 106 of 2020 ( " Act 106 " ), in part, added the
definition of a Personal Delivery Device ( " PDD " ) to the
Commonwealth's Motor Vehicle Code. A PDD is defined
as a ground delivery device that:
1. is manufactured for transporting cargo or goods;
2. is operated by a driving system that allows remote or
autonomous operation, or both; and
3. weighs 500 pounds or less without cargo or goods.
As amended, the Motor Vehicle Code will prohibit a
person from operating a PDD on a roadway, or shoulder
or berm of a roadway, or in a pedestrian area unless:
(1) the person holds a PDD authorization from the
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation or is a PDD
operator; and (2) the PDD is operated in accordance with
other provisions of the Motor Vehicle Code.
Pursuant to Act 106, municipalities, by ordinance or
resolution, may only do the following:
1. Permit the use of a personal delivery device on a
roadway, or shoulder or berm of a roadway, under
the jurisdiction of the municipality where the posted
speed limit is greater than 25 miles per hour but not
greater than 35 miles per hour.

2. Prohibit the use of a personal delivery device on
any roadway, or shoulder or berm of a roadway,
or pedestrian area under the jurisdiction of the
municipality where the municipality, after consultation
with the authorized entity, determines that the
operation of the personal delivery device would
constitute a hazard.
Act 106 specifically prohibits a municipality from
regulating the operation of a PDD operated in a
pedestrian area, roadway, or shoulder or berm of a
roadway, under the jurisdiction of the municipality,
except as otherwise provided.
Act 106 specifically provides that municipalities shall
have no duty to make streets, highways, or real estate
safe for use by personal delivery devices. Additionally,
municipalities shall be immune from suit by authorized
entities and owners of cargo and other items carried on
or within a PDD for property damages.
The law regarding personal delivery devices will be
effective February 1, 2021.
Conclusion:
The only action a municipality may take regarding a
PDD is contained in §8517(a) of the Motor Vehicle
Code. While §8517(b) of the Motor Vehicle Code places
a limit on the authority of a municipality regarding the
regulation of a PDD, the scope of this limit remains
unanalyzed by the courts as this is a brand new law.
Read more on Senate Bill 1199.

New Matter | 15


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