If you are a California resident looking to buy a self-driving car, you’re in luck. For the past few years, many car manufacturers have tested prototypes of autonomous vehicles on roads and highways throughout the state. The testing has involved a trained safety driver at the wheel.
While regular drivers won’t have this technology available to them just yet, California lawmakers have made a huge step in this direction. On October 11, 2017, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) published proposed rules regarding autonomous vehicle technology.
The final rules framework should be finalized no later than June 2018. These proposed rules are currently under a 15-day comment period, so it’s likely that more changes will be forthcoming. State attorneys will then be required to review the changes.
As part of the changes, automakers will no longer be required to have a person sitting in the driver’s seat of an autonomous vehicle. Instead, the requirement will be revised to allow for “supervising the autonomous technology’s performance of the dynamic driving task.” This clause allows for remote monitoring. The finalized rules are also expected to eliminate the requirement that a steering wheel or pedals be present inside the vehicle.
Most automakers do not anticipate availability of autonomous vehicles before 2020. And even then, there’s a possibility they still may not be available for private use.
These new regulations are intended to advance autonomous driving technology. There are currently 42 auto and tech firms testing driverless vehicles in California. There is concern among opponents that these laws will threaten motorist safety in California because the rules enable vehicle manufacturers to use the state’s roadways as a laboratory.
However, California lawmakers are committed to promoting driver safety, and they believe that the new rules regulating driverless vehicles will reduce accidents, keeping the state’s roads safer. So far, autonomous vehicle testing has resulted in relatively few accidents, certainly fewer than their human-operated counterpart.
The Car Accident Attorneys of Nadrich & Cohen applaud the efforts of California lawmakers for taking the lead and developing autonomous vehicle regulations.