Senate bill paves the way for self-driving cars

Over the past few years, automakers have promised to have self-driving cars on Louisiana roads by the end of the decade. While this initially may have been simple sales rhetoric, legislative steps are being taken that bring their promises closer to reality.

According to a recent ABCNews.com report, the Senate recently approved a bill that would allow automakers to apply for special exemptions to federal safety standards for autonomous vehicles. The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee voted to allow each eligible automaker to sell up to 15,000 cars and light trucks with self-driving technology within the first year of the bill’s passage. 

In the second year, each eligible automaker would be able to sell up to 40,000 vehicles, and 80,000 could be sold in each year thereafter. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would be charged with evaluating the performance of these vehicles before additional numbers would be sold.

Not surprisingly, the auto industry supported the bill. It believes that the new bill will be an excellent benefit for the industry, given that nearly all accidents are caused by human error. But even with potentially thousands of self-driving cars on the road, there are still millions driven by human drivers. 

This is an important consideration given that human drivers have a duty to use reasonable care when they are behind the wheel. They must limit distractions, mind speed laws and refrain from alcohol and other mood altering substances before getting behind the wheel. If a driver fails to do so, and an accident occurs as a result, the driver could be held liable for the crash.

If you have questions about your legal rights and options after a car accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can advise you. 

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