Auto regulators at the national level recently announced they believe our roads would be safer with more self-driving cars. Machines over men when it comes to safer highways is what they’re betting on, and the statements made during the latter part of 2016 were the most aggressive we’ve seen from federal regulators.
The government’s support of autonomous cars appears to be a win for the technology sector as well as public safety. It sends a clear signal to automobile makers that further development of these cars is welcomed.
Balancing the Pros and Cons of Autonomous Vehicles
National Economic Council Director Jeffrey Zients stated that those charged with considering self-driving cars and safety had envisioned the future with drivers who could take their hands off of the wheel. This would, he said, produce a restful commute and a productive drive – instead of one filled with frustration and exhaustion. He added that automated cars could save time, money, and lives.
If we soon see a rapid and abundant development of self-driving cars, regulators will then have to balance commercial interests of car companies like Tesla and Google with public safety concerns. As we reported, a few semiautonomous vehicles have crashed recently, and these incidents should be part of further discussions.
Establishing Guidelines for Self-Driving Cars
Some of the first policies pertaining to self-driving cars have now emerged, specifically to walk the line between innovation and safety. Mr. Zients and Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, released some of the initial guidelines during a joint appearance. They discussed an outline for safety expectations and encouraged the creation of a uniform set of rules dealing with the nascent technology.
The takeaway from the guidelines was that motorists and automakers shouldn’t expect over-regulation. Nonetheless, there won’t be a Wild West atmosphere where anything can be done without some oversight.
A 15-Point Safety Standard
The new federal guidelines, which are still not official regulations, target a few primary areas. The Department of Transportation suggested their 15-point standard for safety pertaining to the design and development of self-driving cars would:
- Call for states to create uniform policies for automated cars
- Clarify how our current auto regulations would apply to automated cars
- Open the door for new automated car technology regulations
The 15-point safety standard covers many situations that drivers may get into when behind the wheel of an automated car, including:
- Reacting if technology fails
- Preserving passenger privacy
- Protecting occupants in crashes
Proposed standards also begin to address digital security and automated cars, and the ways in which these vehicles will communicate with other drivers and passengers.
With the new technology comes hope for safer roads as well as many questions that are still unanswered. Until the day when driverless cars become the norm, however, we must still place most of our focus on doing what we can to drive our regular cars with safety in mind. And unfortunately, there will always be human error leading to injury while people are at the wheels.
If you’ve been involved in an accident with an unsafe driver and you’ve been injured, Taos Injury Lawyers would like to hear your story. Fill out the form at the bottom of this page, and one of our attorneys will be in touch to offer assistance.