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NHTSA says some regulations may be lifted for self-driving cars

In a move that could bring South Carolina motorists closer to sharing the roads with driverless cars, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has approved the software that pilots the vehicles being developed by Google as the driver under federal law, according to a letter the agency sent to Google on Feb. 4. Safety regulations on both the state and federal level have inhibited development of the vehicles, and the NHTSA has said that some regulations will need to be rewritten.

However, naming the artificial intelligence as the driver is a significant step forward because it allows the instruments in the vehicle to communicate directly with the software in the same way they would with a human driver. It is not yet clear whether human drivers will receive the same information that the software does. Google has stated that allowing people in the car to override the system could be a safety issue.

For example, the state of California has proposed a requirement that a licensed driver be in a self-driving car and that the cars have steering wheels, and federal regulations require a brake. The NHTSA has said that within six months it will produce new regulations covering driverless vehicles.

As regulators struggle to ensure that driverless cars will be safe, thousands of accidents continue to happen each year, and many of them are caused by human error. Even if the driver who is responsible for the accident is insured, an insurance company sometimes offers inadequate compensation. If this is the case, an injured victim may find it advisable to meet with an attorney to see if filing a lawsuit against the negligent motorist would be an appropriate course to take.

Philpot Law Firm, PA
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Greenville, SC 29601

Toll Free: 866-853-3497
Toll Free: 866-853-3497
Phone: 864-990-0226
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