Driverless cars may be almost ready for us, but are we ready for them?
Autonomous cars are only legal in California, Nevada, Michigan, Florida
and the District of Columbia. No state has yet banned these vehicles,
but Arizona, Colorado, Maryland and New Hampshire are close to doing so.
In most jurisdictions, the laws are "
in committee." Statistically, about 90 percent of proposed bills that are referred
to a committee and make it out.
In California, the DMV is in the process of making rules based on SB 1298.
In a related measure, legislators authorized the City of Lancaster to
research and develop driverless mass transit buses.
A primary objection to driverless cars is a lack of faith in both the technology
and the human drivers. Right turns and left turns are easy to predict,
but how will these vehicles react if an intoxicated motorist swerves across
traffic, a pedestrian takes a few steps into traffic, or some other similar
event? Furthermore, if distracted driving is a problem now, how much worse
will it be when the driver is, by design, not paying attention to the
road? If the motorist must take over in an emergency, what would happen?
There are other legal questions. Would officers still write tickets for
people who are using their cell phones in cars that drive themselves,
or not wearing their seat belts in cars that theoretically never crash?
One thing seems certain. No matter how smart the car is, drivers in Fresno
will still get traffic tickets.