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Who is regulating self-driving cars?

On Behalf of | Sep 19, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

According to The Drive, the New York Department of Motor Vehicles currently has in place a test program that allows self-driving vehicles to operate in the state. Every vehicle must have a human being not just in the vehicle but behind the wheel at all times. Additionally, an insurance policy with a $5 million threshold must be carried on every self-driving car.

Residents throughout New York should be aware of these things because of the potential impact on them should they be involved in an accident with a self-driving car.

Restrictions may be lifted in New York

The DMV recently voted to lift restrictions on autonomous vehicles in an effort to encourage more of them in the state. It may well be a move designed in large part to solicit more jobs in the state. To date, most of the regulations in place focus not on identifying safety standards that must be met but on what automobile manufacturers and technology companies can do. The regulations are, in effect, a means to facilitate research and development of these vehicles.

Some calling for federal safety oversight

Recode explains that there is a growing movement in which the federal government’s involvement is requested to establish true safety standards for this emerging industry and technology. The standards should include design and manufacturing specs to help prevent accidents.

The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards that are in effect today govern only human-driven vehicles. There are provisions for the durability, performance, design and construction of cars. Some in the industry are concerned that in the absence of federal regulations, states may take matters into their own hands and that could end up resulting in a set of very inconsistent requirements.

The length of time that it may take to establish standards at the federal level may extend beyond the time in which autonomous vehicles are actually ready and able to hit the road in large numbers. This may end up exposing the public to an unnecessary level of risk.

Autonomous vehicle decision making

Self-driving cars are operated by computers that generally process information in a very black-and-white manner. They can have a harder time with the inconsistencies that humans adapt to on a daily basis. Artificial intelligence will be required to help these vehicles be more agile and more safely share the road with human drivers.

Getting help after an accident

New York residents who are involved in an accident with a self-driving vehicle should contact an attorney for help. Especially in the absence of clear laws, getting the input of a professional is important when seeking compensation.


Law Offices of Joseph J. Tock