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Caution urged on driverless car testing

Many Oklahoma motorists have likely been following news reports describing the ongoing development of self-driving car technology. Google has been testing autonomous vehicles for quite some time, and other car makers have gotten into the effort as well. For example, Ford Motor Company has announced its intention to have its autonomous vehicles in operation by 2021, backed by a $1 billion investment in an artificial intelligence company.

However, these efforts have not received universal acclaim. Some safety groups have expressed concern that early models need to be certified by their manufacturers before they are tested on public roadways. One group believes that fewer vehicles should be allowed to be tested than the number that has been proposed in legislation under consideration by a House of Representatives committee. A New Jersey congressman has stated that there should be input from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration before this legislation is voted on. However, there's currently a vacancy at the head of that agency.

Many autonomous vehicle developers and manufacturers are of the opinion that there should be federal regulation over the safety aspects of driverless cars. Currently, several states have their own rules, which the federal legislation under consideration would supersede.

There's a belief that the emergence of self-driving vehicles will dramatically reduce the number of car accidents. At the very least, it could cut back on accidents that are caused by drivers who are impaired by alcohol or drugs. However, there could always be the possibility that accidents could happen due to a failure in the software driving the system. Attorneys who would be representing injured victims in such a crash might need to look to other parties, such as developers or manufacturers, to bear the financial responsibility for the losses that have been sustained.

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