New York to Approve Self-Driving Car Testing on Public Highways

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New York to Approve Self-Driving Car Testing on Public Highways

The testing period for the self-driving car will run for one year, and it’s open to any company approved by the DMV.

New York is set to become the latest state to green-light autonomous vehicle testing on public highways thanks to a new measure in the state budget, according to a report by the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

The development of self-driving cars in New York has been limited by a long-standing state law requiring drivers to keep one hand on the steering wheel at all times, but the new budget removes that restriction for autonomous testing purposes (while requiring state police supervision, however). Work can begin as soon as the budget is passed, and the testing period will last until April 2018. The budget is expected to pass later today.

More importantly, though, the measure does not restrict testing privileges to automakers as bills in several other states have proposed—any company can apply to the DMV for a permit. That means Google/Waymo and Uber, both of whom already have large presences in New York City, could jump right into this new arena and quickly expand their self-driving programs. Getting their cars on the road in the nation’s fourth-most populous state would be a boon for the data collection necessary to improve their technologies, even if the vehicles are only limited to highways.


So who will be to blame if an accident occurs? This will likely open a whole new level of liability against the makers of the vehicles and each of the manufacturers and suppliers of the parts in the car that may not work contributing to an accident. One need only think about how many times their phone freezes or their computer freezes or crashes to contemplate just how fallible modern computer technology is. Imagine if the car computer chip freezes or does not function properly? Just recently this occurred when an individual was killed while watching a movie in his self-driving vehicle, when the vehicle’s system did not recognize an approaching tractor trailer and collided with it. I find it hard to believe that these self-automated cars will ever get to the point where they are as safe as humans operating them. Humans are dangerous too on many occasions in how they operate vehicles. Perhaps the best mix will be human operation with the computer chip automation to help catch what the human does not. In the meantime, this will create a whole new host of legal issues on liability when car accidents inevitably will occur.


At Tindall Law firm, LLC we are very experienced in helping those injured in various accidents, which are caused by the wrongful conduct of another who violates the traffic safety laws, or fails to follow premises’ safety rules, or workplace safety rules. We fight on your behalf to help you receive the just compensation to which you are entitled to cover the harms and losses, which you have sustained. Please contact us with any questions on this topic or any other legal issues by calling us at (203) 755-0018 or visiting us online at http: // with all your legal needs.


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