New Jersey residents who are anxious to see self-driving cars on their roads may be a little closer following a Feb. 4 letter to Google from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According to the NHTSA, the software that is responsible for guiding the cars will be considered the driver. This decision means that regulations that state the driver must be notified by the vehicle’s instruments about various situations will apply to the artificial intelligence in self-driving cars.
For example, a dashboard alert lets drivers know when the tire pressure is low. Self-driving cars will communicate that information to the computer, and it has not yet been decided whether passengers will be alerted as well.
California has proposed requiring each car have a steering wheel as well as a licensed driver as passenger, but Google argues that the possibility of humans taking over the car may lead to more safety problems. If the self-driving cars are produced without steering wheels or brakes, new regulations will have to be written to cover this. The NHTSA said that it is willing to make exceptions for certain safety regulations provided adequate documentation is presented.
Until all vehicles on the road are self-driving, human error will still lead to car accidents. These accidents may be caused by drivers who are drunk, texting and driving or simply careless, and they can cause serious and life-changing injuries to those who are on the road at the time. A person who has been injured in a collision caused by a negligent motorist may find it advisable to have the assistance of an attorney in preparing and filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.