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Everyday drivers in Lamont and Shafter might soon join the ranks of trained professionals that are test driving autonomous vehicles, according to draft rules issued by the State of California.

Theoretically, automakers could lease driverless cars to all drivers, resulting in a higher volume of test data that is also more accurate. In addition to a standard drivers’ license, the operator would have to be certified by the DMV to use a driverless car. Somewhat to the chagrin of industry executives, the vehicles must have steering wheels because of a mandatory override system that kicks in if the computer is hacked. Currently, there are over 100 prototypes prowling California streets, and about three-fourths of them are owned by Google.

The DMV will hold at least two public meetings before the rules are finalized in late 2016.

The Automatic DefenseMore Driverless Drivers

Semi-autonomous cars are already widely available. Most all new vehicles have an array of sensors that enables these cars to park themselves, set their own speeds, and warn drivers if there are vehicles in their blind spots. Moreover, Volvo is scheduled to release an autopilot car in the very near future. All this technology begs the question of who is at fault if a driver gets a traffic ticket in one of these vehicles.

Driverless cars may eventually add an additional legal defense to a traffic ticket: the sensor did not go off properly, so the car made an illegal lane change by itself. Under standard legal theory in tort law, the car’s owner would still get the ticket. But there is nothing “standard” about a driverless car, so this area is unexplored territory.

Getting Legal Help

The aggressive attorneys at Bigger & Harman, APC, are committed to giving individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call today at 661-349-9300 or email to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español, llame al 661-349-9755.

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