By: Allan M. Siegel
The U.S. House of Representatives is currently considering a federal bill
that would permit up to 100,000 automated, self-driving cars to drive
anywhere in the United States. Under the proposed law, the self-driving
cars would not have to meet existing federal safety standards that usually
apply to new vehicles, because those regulations are designed for human-driven
cars. Instead, car manufacturers would have to apply to the National Highway
Safety and Transportation Bureau for special permission. These manufacturers
would have to demonstrate the safety of their self-driving cars to the
Federal Government, by using testing that the manufacturers perform themselves.
Some are worried that federal regulatory agencies don’t have enough
expertise with self-driving cars to know what is “safe enough.”
Self-driving cars have already been involved in accidents, including a
fatal incident in Florida in 2016 in which a tester sitting in the front
seat of a self-driving car was killed when the car ran into a tractor-trailer.
(It should be noted, though, that the tester was not paying attention
and failed to brake the car.) However, others point out that
human-driven cars have their own safety problems. Arguably, the vast majority of traffic
deaths are due to human error.
We are excited for the possibility that self-driving cars will usher in
a new era of safety on America’s roads, but this will require vigilance
in enforcing safety regulations with respect to this new technology. In
the meantime, if you or anyone else has been injured by an automobile
– whether driven by a human or a computer – you should
contact the personal injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel,
P.C., for a free consultation.