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Self-driving cars await definitive safety guidelines

With an eye on speeding up the development of self-driving cars, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation approved a bill in early October that will free automakers from meeting certain safety standards on up to 80,000 self-driving cars produced annually in the next three years. The bill stipulates that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will be granting the exemptions. In addition, the agency will be writing new safety rules for self-driving cars within the next 10 years. However, drivers in Georgia and the rest of the U.S. should know that there are some roadblocks.

Currently, there are close to 75 auto safety regulations, and as many of them are naturally incompatible with the nature of self-driving vehicles, the NHTSA will be engaged in the rewriting of many rules. The agency is also considering eliminating some of them altogether. However, it has stated in a report, which will be released publicly by the end of November, that it will require input from other organizations regarding the type of research it should conduct. This research may take several years to complete before decisions can be made.

Advocates of the Senate bill are urging Congress to take further action. On the other hand, auto safety groups have expressed concern about the lack of safeguards left by the exemptions and pledge to fight for change.

It is hoped that the advent of driverless technology will dramatically reduce the number of car crashes, as most such accidents are the result of human error. Until that day arrives, however, people will continue to be injured in collisions caused by negligent drivers, and those who are might find it advisable to have the help of an attorney when seeking compensation for the losses that they have incurred.

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