« Back to Blog

Driverless Cars and Legal Issues

Posted on January 1, 2017

Once considered science fiction, driverless cars are nearly mainstream. Every major car manufacturer is developing a self-driving model, and it won’t be long until some of those vehicles are on the road. The challenge for lawmakers is to be ready with regulations when it happens.

“The U.S. legal system is already having trouble keeping up with the pace of developments in transportation,” according to Larry Downes, author of an article in the Harvard Business Review. Downes is project director at the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy and co-author of “Big Bang Disruption: Strategy in the Age of Devastating Innovation.” He noted that the rules of the road will have to be updated, including accident liability laws written 100 years ago. Lawmakers also will have to grapple with related issues: automobile insurance, accident liability, car ownership, and more.

At issue is the fact that humans are no longer driving, which could change who is liable for an accident. However, the article notes, “humans kill over 30,000 people in the U.S. alone.” A move to driverless, computer-controlled cars will likely improve safety. “From the beginning, self-driving vehicles have proven to be better drivers than most human operators, since software is able to learn as it goes,” wrote Downes.

There are many government and state agencies collaborating on planning for the issue, as well as discussing the implications of its advent.

You can read the article here.

Do you have a question regarding motor vehicle accident liability? Contact us today.