Federal Self-Driving Vehicle Regulations Could Undermine Consumer Safety and Privacy
A new Congress could mean round two for The American Vision for Safer Transportation Through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies (AV START) Act. The AV START Act creates the first federal framework for autonomous vehicles (AVs), but it failed in Congress in 2018.
The National Association of City Transportation Officials and the The American Association of Justice (AAJ) are two organizations against the legislation for fear the measure would undo safety regulations already passed in many states, including regulations that would require driverless firms to make public any malfunction that forces a test vehicle to be removed from the roads. Also at risk is the exemption of driverless firms from privacy laws. The vehicles and companies could track the data and movement of consumers and share it commercially.
Another major threat unearthed by the legislation is a consumers right to bring about a claim in the instance of an injury or accident. AAJ trial lawyers are fighting to preserve the right to bring a claim under state law and reduce the likelihood the self-driving car industry will be able to force Americans into arbitration.
AAJ pulled its support of the bill in December 2018 and stated it would revisit its opposition when a new bill is drafted. The legislation won’t move forward until Congress takes action and many speculate that won’t be right away.
Self-Driving Car Liability
Liability for incidents involving self-driving cars is a developing area of law and policy. Although the main argument for self-driving vehicles is increased safety, 2018 saw several AV accidents.
In March an Uber self-driving car killed a woman in Arizona who was crossing the street with her bicycle in the dark. Just a few days later a Tesla model in autopilot mode crashed into a concrete lane divider in California and caught fire, killing the man in the vehicle.
Who is held liable in these types of accidents? It depends. Self-driving car manufacturers and any company that supplied self-driving technology could potentially be held liable. A lawsuit involving an AV could revolve around whether the self-driving system had a design defect. A West Palm Beach products liability lawyer would need to show that a product had an inherent design defect that renders it unsafe.
Liability depends on the facts of each accident and the results of any investigations by the U.S. National Highway Safety Administration and National Transportation Safety Board.
Talk to a Defective Product Lawyer Today
At Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather, Littky-Rubin & Whitman, we are dedicated to helping men and women throughout the state of Florida who have been injured in car accidents and by defective products. If you have been injured, reach out to our firm to discuss all of your legal options.