In an effort to make self-driving vehicles a reality on Georgia roads, State Representative Trey Kelley sponsored House Bill 248, legislation that would allow self-driving cars to operate on public roads. Unfortunately the bill did not pass during the 2017 session.
What are the challenges to enacting new legislation on self-driving vehicles?
Several other states, including California and Florida, are working to pass laws dealing with autonomous driving, which will make transportation safer and more efficient. Yet these efforts are hampered by the need to update existing laws to reflect who is responsible in the event of a crash. Also, there is disagreement on the definition of the vehicle manufacturer, and how liability will be assigned in the event of a collision, among other things.
Also, there is push-back from transportation networks and technology companies like Uber and Google, who are seeking explicit representation within the language of the new laws, and are seeking to avoid complex rules and requirements that could slow down innovation.
Why do we need self-driving vehicles?
Given that the vast majority of crashes are caused by human error, the need for highly automated vehicles is clear. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 35,092 people died on U.S. roadways in 2015 alone, and 94% of crashes are related to a human choice or error.
At the Weinstein Firm, we work with people everyday who have been harmed in crashes, most of which were caused by human error. We highly support the development and implementation of new technology that will enable self-driving vehicles on our roadways. We are watching the evolution of this much-needed technology with great interest, and will continue to report on its advances here.