Will Nevada be First to Legalize Driverless Cars?

Google has been lobbying Nevada to legalize driverless or autonomous cars since May, and, recently, according to Canada.com, the Nevada legislature passed two new bills that make it possible for Google to better test its cars on Nevada roads. It is still unclear whether the Nevada legislature will legalize the cars and create an autonomous or “robotic” car driver’s license.

According to the article, nationwide traffic accidents kill approximately 35,000 people every year, the same number of Americans who died during the Vietnam War. Also, approximately 1.2 million are killed worldwide. Most U.S. car crashes are the result of human error and/or negligence, usually involving distracted driving or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This is one of the issues Google is trying to address with their autonomous cars. As stated in Google’s official blog: “Our goal is to help prevent traffic accidents, free up people’s time and reduce carbon emissions by fundamentally changing car use.”

The Google “robot” car uses GPS, lasers, radar, video cameras, artificial intelligence, and Google’s own extensive data, to safely navigate its way through roads by stopping at red lights, braking when the car in front of it brakes, not backing up if the way is blocked and stopping to allow a pedestrian to cross the street; and the car does all this and more without the attention of the driver. A driver can still take control of the vehicle, however.

Though Google is still testing the vehicles and have not worked out all of the “bugs,” there has been concern over the ultimate safety of these robotic vehicles. How will the vehicles respond in an emergency? Would Google and auto manufacturers be exempt from liability when software or hardware failures cause an accident? More of these questions will likely arise during Google’s campaign to legalize autonomous cars.

At Shook & Stone, our experienced Las Vegas auto accident lawyers believe that technological improvements are a great step in the advancement of our society and that the role that Nevada plays in that process is a great honor, but, faulty manufacturing or negligence is just that, whether it is a robotic car or a conventional one. If you or a loved one has been injured in a Nevada car crash caused by the negligence or recklessness of another driver, we can help you pursue compensation for your losses and damages. Contact us today for a free consultation at 702-570-0000.


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