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NTSB Encourages States to Look at Self-Driving Cars to Improve Road Safety: A Report from Your Los Angeles Auto Accident Attorney

Posted on by Jeffrey Rudman

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released a policy report urging states to look at self-driving cars as a means of improving road safety. Self-driving vehicles are those in which operation of the vehicle occurs without direct driver input to control the steering, acceleration and braking. These vehicles are designed so that the driver is not expected to constantly monitor the roadway while operating in self-driving mode.
Currently, only three states — California, Nevada and Florida — have enacted laws that permit companies to operate these vehicles on public roadways. California became the third state to legalize the use of self-driven cars for testing purposes as of September 2012 when Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law at Google HQ in Mountain View. Google has a driverless car project that involves developing technology for robotic cars.
Google posted a YouTube video in 2012 showing a California man being taken on a ride in its self-driving Toyota Prius. Later that year, the Google project team announced, among other things, that they had completed over 300,000 autonomous-driving miles accident-free. The company has said that it hopes to develop a business which would market the system and the data behind it to automobile manufacturers. As your Los Angeles automobile accident attorney can attest – if driverless vehicles can achieve a reduction in auto accidents, the vehicles would be a boon to California residents.
NTSB has suggested that state legislatures pass legislation that encourages testing of driverless automobiles. The NHTSA hopes that with more states backing the option, advances in vehicle-to-vehicle communication and automatic braking can more quickly be made, paving the way for industry standards and eventual commercial deployment.
The policy report provides states interested in passing similar laws with assistance to ensure that their legislation does not inadvertently impact current vehicle technology and that the testing of self-driving vehicles is conducted safely.
The policy statement also describes NHTSA’s research efforts related to autonomous vehicles. While the technology remains in early stages, NHTSA is conducting research on self-driving vehicles so that the agency has the tools to establish standards for these vehicles, should the vehicles become commercially available. The first phase of this research is expected to be completed within the next four years.
“We’re encouraged by the new automated vehicle technologies being developed and implemented today, but want to ensure that motor vehicle safety is considered in the development of these advances,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “As additional states consider similar legislation, our recommendations provide lawmakers with the tools they need to encourage the safe development and implementation of automated vehicle technology.”
While the possibility of self-driving vehicles taking over Los Angeles’ clogged freeways is still a dream, fender benders and other auto accidents are the current reality for our drivers. If you have sustained injury in an automobile accident or other type of accident due to the negligence of another, you may have a valid personal injury claim under California law. Contact your Los Angeles auto accident lawyer at the Rudman Law Firm today for a free consultation to discover your options for recovering compensation for your losses.

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