While Technology Now Allows for Self-Driving Cars, it is also Creating Legal Dilemmas
Several states are grappling with the issue of how to draft legislation concerning new cars that can drive themselves. These cars are currently being tested by several auto manufacturers, such as Toyota and Audi, and may be ready for consumers by 2020. While there is still time before the legislation will be necessary, states are having a hard time determining who should be held liable if the car is involved in an accident. Automakers have argued against having liability on their shoulders, as consumers could alter the technology and be responsible for the accident. Insurance companies similarly are unsettled that they could be forced to assume liability if legislation is drafted in such a way that does not protect them. The other alternative is to hold the purchaser of the vehicle liable for any accidents that occur while the car is on the road. Currently, only California, Nevada and Florida have passed laws, and Arizona came close to passing a bill until it was met with opposition from automakers. The laws that were passed generally include some type of exemption for the automaker. Until a fully functional self-driving car is available and has been sufficiently tested, the debate on proper legislation will continue to evolve.
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