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The Future of Transportation Law: With Self-Driving Cars, What Could Change?

 

Tech companies today like Google, Tesla, and Apple along with most major car manufactures are pushing forward with the creation and integration of self-driving cars into our daily lives.

With every new tech successfully integrated, there’s always a paradigm shift in every aspect of how we live day-to-day. But with human drivers out of the picture, how can we expect legislation and personal injury law to change? Here are some theories of possible changes:

  1. Instead of suing drivers, we sue software engineers and tech companies:

Since the responsibility of average people to keep other drivers safe would be theoretically eliminated, should anything at all go wrong, who is at fault? In a car accident investigation, current laws are arranged in such a manner that the next party up to consider after the driver is the car dealer, car manufacturer, or parts creator in the possible matter of a defective vehicle. That said, the variable of the driver will likely be replaced by the tech company that manages the car’s automation software. If the software can’t recognize or keep up with changing road conditions (thus causing an accident,) then tech companies could be at fault for poorly performing software. And while drivers could be on the hook for failing to install and update the car’s software, most modern tech bear systems that perform automatic updates, so that will likely not be the case.

  1. Insurance policies:

Given the various changes and eliminations of numerous variables, it’s highly likely that there will be significant changes in the terms and payments of the average insurance policy. But how things could change specifically is up in the air. There’s a possibility that we could have significant reductions in our payments or no payments at all. There could also be an increase, but what will ultimately decide the terms and payments is where that money will go to and what exactly the insurance is covering, which is too early to say.

  1. New legislation regarding more ways to break the law:

With the shift in focus from our driving skills to the automation software and cyber security of each car, new crimes will become a focus with more ways to harm someone. Individuals could attempt to harm a person by hacking a vehicle and manipulating it among other methods. Legislation would need to be created to accommodate the rise of these new, innovative crimes, but on the other hand, this could also bolster the creation of new industries with focuses on vehicle cybersecurity maintenance and investigation.

Looking at the big picture, these aren’t the only possible changes that could occur. Along with the convenience of the everyday citizen, our government creates new legislation and regulations to encourage commerce and prevent abuse. As this seems to be the next big thing, these changes could come sooner than you think.