Safety and consumer advocates are telling Congress that they need to establish basic rules of road before they allow tech companies and automakers to rapidly expand testing of driverless cars. According to a Bloomberg news report, advocates are urging lawmakers to require automakers to certify the safety of driverless cars before they are tested on the roads. Some also warn that lawmakers should not be moving bills relating to self-driving cars without input from the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is currently vacant.
Evaluating the Safety of Driverless Cars
House lawmakers are currently talking about the first federal law related to driverless vehicles while their counterparts in the Senate are working on their own measures to guide approval of these vehicles. Meanwhile, companies are racing to develop the technology, which proponents of driverless cars say, will help significantly prevent traffic accident fatalities in the U.S., particularly those that are caused by driver error and negligence.
Safety advocates want federal regulators to continue to oversee safety, not states. The proposals that lawmakers are currently looking at have been praised by trade groups for automakers, who have called for the federal government to take the lead and “regulate with a light touch.” However, safety and consumer advocates are worried about self-driving cars hitting our roadways without a proper regulatory and safety framework. Advocates say that before driverless cars are put on the roadways, they should go through mandatory functional safety evaluations – as a bare minimum requirement.
Emphasis on Safety
While driverless cars are touted as the safe alternative, slashing the number of traffic accident injuries and fatalities significantly, the reality is much more complicated. Testing has a vital role to play as automakers would need to simulate an infinite number of real-world objects and situations in order to test new autonomous technologies. There is no question that for driverless cars to become a reality, the industry needs to prove that these vehicles perform better than human beings.
Under no circumstances should drivers be used as test subjects for these vehicles. There also need to be clear-cut guidelines with regard to who is responsible for crashes, injuries and damages caused by driverless cars. The common consensus today is that the automakers should be held liable for such incidents.
If you have been injured by a self-driving or a semi-autonomous vehicle, you may still be able to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, rehabilitation and pain and suffering. The experienced Sacramento car accident attorneys at the Demas Law Group P.C., are well-equipped to handle all types of accident injury cases. Call us at (916) 444-0100 for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation and case assessment.