New York City Personal Injury Law Blog

Self-Driving Vehicles in New York: Federal Regulations Need to Keep Up

Posted on Apr 25, 2018 in Car Accidents

Motor vehicle accidents take thousands of lives and cause many people to suffer permanent injury every year. Those who are hurt in collisions can get help from a New York City personal injury law firm to take legal action and recover compensation from those who caused accidents to occur.

Many car accidents are caused by human error and new technology in the form of self driving cars could upend and change the new vehicle market, which would in turn forever alter the way in which people travel on America’s roads. While many believe that self-driving cars could end up making the roads in the United States much safer, as The Hill reports, it will be very important to ensure that federal regulations keep pace with changes in technology.

Federal Regulators Need to Keep Up With the Development of Self-Driving Vehicles

According to The Hill, government regulations are not currently keeping pace with the innovation in the self-driving car industry.

The issue is that current rules regulating vehicle operation on the roads were, of course, written at a time when only humans operated vehicles and thus only human-operated cars were considered when the regulations passed.  With the development of self-driving cars, the rules will need to change to account for automated vehicles.

Rules currently require that people are in control of vehicles, so Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) will need to change to address new issues that arise. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the federal agency that is responsible for maintaining FMVSS and will need to lead the way on an update to these regulations to address the new technologies being developed and eventually to enable those technologies to be used on the road by the general public.

There are many advocacy groups that are pushing the NHTSA to begin taking action to update these regulations even as technologies are still developing. Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), is encouraged that self-driving vehicles can help to lead the transition from petroleum to cleaner forms of energy, while the American Council of the Blind believes that self-driving car technologies could empower and enable blind individuals who cannot currently drive to become more independent.

Self-driving vehicles can also potentially increase the safety of all motorists because they can put an end to issues such as drunk driving and distracted driving, which are responsible for a substantial number of the fatal accidents that occur on U.S. roadways each year. However, while it is believed that self-driving cars can make the roads safer overall, the federal regulations will need to be adjusted and updated both to allow more leeway for cars to be used that aren’t operated by people and to ensure that those cars are used in a safe and responsible manner.

As cars become more autonomous, more questions may arise when accidents happen regarding who is to blame and who should be held liable for automobile accidents that occur. A New York City personal injury lawyer can provide representation to accident victims and can assist in proving who is to blame when collisions occur.


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