Supporters of driverless cars are asking lawmakers to set a national standard for these driverless vehicles. They allege that currently, there are inconsistent state laws that threaten to stall the development of the vehicles.
Several senators have expressed support for setting national standards for driverless cars. Eventually, it’s expected that the vehicles will be traveling on highways and going across state lines, and many believe that if there are not uniform federal regulations governing these vehicles, it will slow down the development process for the vehicles without adding to their safety or the advancement of the technology.
It’s expected that when driverless cars become a reality, the number of road deaths will dramatically decline. Road deaths rose to 38,300 last year from 32,000 the year before. It’s believed that deaths are increasing because more people are driving while distracted, and more people are on the roads because of the inexpensive cost of gas. Although driverless vehicles are not quite a reality yet, cars are beginning to have a lot of autonomous features such as automatic braking and steering to help avoid accidents.
At a Senate hearing on the issue, the director of self-driving cars at Google testified that over the past couple of years, 23 states have introduced 53 different pieces of legislation applying to self-driving vehicles. In addition, five states have passed laws, all of which are different, containing different definitions, expectations, and licensing structures. The director believes that if every state is left to go its own way, it would be impossible to operate self-driving cars across state lines. Another expert testified at the hearing that she believes that a lot more research, testing, and leadership from the federal government is necessary before control of vehicles can be handed over to a robot. She believes that there is a rush to field systems that are not ready to be introduced to the public. She also believes that those vehicles are not ready for humans to be taken out of the driver’s seat.
Currently, Google is leading the pack in pushing self-driving car technology. Google has been deploying test cars without a brake pedal or steering wheel, which conflicts with existing regulations concerning motor vehicles. Currently, California has a number of self-driving cars on its roads, although there are individuals in the vehicles while they are driving.
Driverless cars are a new technology. The legal implications of driverless cars have yet to be fully explored, and probably will not be until more are on the roads. Currently, when there is a car accident between two vehicles, the driver who caused the accident is legally responsible. It’s unclear who would be responsible in an accident caused by a driverless car. It may be the person in the car who could possibly take control or it could be the software company, or possibly a third party. Although autonomous cars are relatively new technology, there have already been accidents with other vehicles on the roads. However, it is expected that overall, self-driving cars will be much safer than vehicles with human drivers.
At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty and Seth I. Rosenberg are available to help those who have been injured in automobile accidents in the Oakland-San Francisco area because of the negligence of another driver. Call the San Francisco automobile accident attorneys at Liberty Law at 415-896-1000 or 510-645-1000 to learn more or to schedule your free consultation. You may be entitled to lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and more. We work with clients throughout the area, including in Sacramento, Tracy, Fairfield, San Jose, Berkeley, and the surrounding areas.