Gibbs & Fuerst, LLP

Southern California Personal Injury & Business Lawyers

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Self-driving vehicle regulations meet roadblock

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said that it needs further instructions on how to revise current auto safety regulations for self-driving vehicles. It is also asking for comments on whether it should eliminate certain regulations altogether. This could affect how soon drivers in California and across the U.S. can get self-driving vehicles.

In early October, the Senate Commerce Committee approved a bill that allows the NHTSA to waive requirements for the makers of self-driving vehicles. A similar measure was approved by the House of Representatives in September. It would grant exemptions to automakers deploying up to 80,000 self-driving vehicles annually in the next three years.

The NHTSA has said that it will make its notice public by the end of November. Since there are currently close to 75 auto safety regulations, the question is how to adapt them to self-driving vehicles. Research into the matter could take several years. Under the Senate measure, the agency has been given 10 years to write permanent rules.

The measures approved by the Senate have also found backing with corporations like General Motors, Alphabet Inc. and Ford Motor. However, auto safety groups are concerned with the lack of safeguards and continue to press for changes.

In the meantime, car accident rates are still high due to driver negligence and recklessness. If someone is injured by a driverless or traditional vehicle, they could see a lawyer about filing an injury claim. Even if the victim partly contributed to the injuries, for example by not wearing a seatbelt, the claim may still be valid. After assessing the claim, a lawyer could gather evidence and negotiate for a settlement.

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