Today, driverless cars are a novelty. In the future, they are likely to comprise the majority of vehicles on the road. While safety is supposed to prove a major advantage for driverless vehicles, accidents will continue to happen. If you are hit by a driverless vehicle, who is liable? To date, New Jersey has not passed any legislation relating to such autonomous vehicles, nor has the state passed any insurance requirements for driverless cars. Such legislation, however, is in the works.
Meanwhile, the New Jersey Department of Transportation, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, and the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety are participating in a task force to study the autonomous vehicle issue.
A bill before the state legislature would require the owners of autonomous vehicles to have auto insurance. Minimum liability insurance coverage under the proposed legislation is $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident, the same minimums as standard vehicles. This proposal hardly seems like groundbreaking legislation, and there are more important questions when dealing with driverless cars and accidents.
Currently, drivers are held liable for car accidents. Although an investigation may reveal other causes, such as defective vehicle parts, drivers are supposed to operate their cars in a safe manner, per the rules of the road. If a vehicle does not have a driver, it is the technology that is most likely at-fault for the accident.
When autonomous vehicles rule the road, major causes of crashes are eliminated. Computers cannot drive under the influence or distract themselves with text messages.
Autonomous vehicles and those driven by humans will soon be together on the road. Driverless cars are programmed, but people are not. Autonomous vehicles should always travel the speed limit. When driverless cars on a major highway obey the speed limit but human drivers do not, problems can occur. Driverless cars come to a complete stop at stop signs, which does not always occur when humans are behind the wheel. This raises the question of liability when an autonomous car and a human driver get into a car accident.
All legislation involving autonomous cars is currently at the state level, and New Jersey is behind many other states on this subject. While years may pass before driverless cars become a reality, states must pass minimum safety standards for such vehicles. Unless regulations are passed on a federal level, what could result is a patchwork of state regulations. That could mean a driverless vehicle meeting regulation in one state, but failing to meet regulations in another.
If you or a family member was the victim of a driverless car, or any other type of motor vehicle accident, you need the services of the experienced Asbury Park car accident lawyers at Fox & Melofchik, L.L.C. Call us today at 732-493-9400 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation.
Located in Eatontown, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County, Mercer County, Asbury Park, Neptune, Long Branch, Keansburg, Ocean Township, Eatontown, Red Bank, Middletown, Colts Neck, Deal, Freehold, Holmdel, Jackson, Little Silver, Marlboro, and Rumson.