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Who’s Responsible If I Get In An Accident With A Driverless Car?

This Tuesday marked a significant change in the automobile industry. California signed Senate Bill 1298 requiring the state adopt rules and regulations for the operations of driverless cars like the one’s Google has been testing.

Specifically the bill provides:

“Existing law requires the Department of the California Highway Patrol to adopt rules and regulations that are designed to promote the safe operation of specific vehicles, including, among other things, school buses and commercial motor vehicles … This bill would require the department to adopt safety standards and performance requirements to ensure the safe operation and testing of “autonomous vehicles,” as defined, on the public roads in this state. The bill would permit autonomous vehicles to be operated or tested on the public roads in this state pending the adoption of safety standards and performance requirements that would be adopted under this bill.”

This means that it will be legal for driverless cars to operate on California’s roadways. This raises several obvious questions such as: Are driverless cars safe? Will the number of California car accidents increase with driverless cars on the road? And, Who is responsible for an accident that occurs with a driverless vehicle??

While the answers to these questions and many others will be sorted out over the next several years, many of these questions have been addressed preliminarily.

For example, Google CEO Larry Page explained that the driverless cars use artificial-intelligence software that can sense anything near the car and mimic the decisions made by a human driver. This makes them safer than those with drivers. And the statistics back him up. In the 300,000 miles driven since Google began testing its vehicles, there have only been two car accidents. One was a fender bender that was the result of human error and another was a rear-ending accident that occurred at a traffic light. He continues, “So far, we have heard of no incident in which a driverless car was responsible for a crash because of being a driverless car. ”

Contrast this with a much larger number of humans involved in car crashes cars during Google’s 300,000 miles.

Robots who have faster reaction times than humans and will not get into accidents as the result of distracted driving, driving while fatigued or driving under the influence.

The driverless cars will also help prevent deaths and personal injury accidents for teens just learning to drive – the technology will teach them to drive and learn the rules of the road.

As stated by a driverless proponent after riding in one of Google’s vehicles: “It’s just almost a life-changing experience. You sit down, you drive through the parking lot, and you’re like ‘Why am I driving,’ you know?”

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers predicts that self-driving cars will account for 75% of traffic by 2040.

For more information or if you have been involved in any type of motor vehicle, contact the top Stockton car accident lawyers at the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette for an immediate consultation.