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California issues important rules regarding self-driving cars

Technology moves so quickly in the automotive industry that it can be difficult to stay on top of new trends. A relatively new phenomenon that people in Orange County may have seen is the self-driving car, which is intended to reduce traffic accidents. However, leadership in the state is concerned about the vehicle’s safety, which has prompted several important new rules.

As the country’s largest market for motor vehicles, California has the ability to set precedent that the rest of the nation may follow. Self-driving vehicles have been on the road for years, and advocates say they have the ability to prevent a significant portion of the more than 32,000 traffic fatalities that occur every year. This, boosters say, is accomplished by taking human error out of the equation. In Silicon Valley, Google has built a prototype of a self-driving car that does not have any pedals or steering wheel. However, California recently revealed rules that demand that every one of these cars has a human driver present.

The rules also state that manufacturers building these vehicles may secure a permit after passing certain safety measurements. The permit will last for three years, during which the manufacturer can lease the cars to consumers while tracking their safety performance. Anyone who wishes to operate such a vehicle will have to participate in training that the manufacturer provides in addition to receiving a specified certification on his or her driver’s license.

Consumer Watchdog supports California’s rules, noting that the state is rightly prioritizing the safety of the public. In the event that an accident with one of these self-driving cars or any other vehicle does happen, injured parties may be able to hold negligent people responsible for damages. Anyone with questions along those lines should consult with an attorney.

Source: The Orange County Register, “California: Self-driving cars must have driver behind the wheel,” Dec. 16, 2015

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