From video conversations to autonomous vehicles, the technology seen in sci-fi films as a kid is now a part of everyday life. Yet, the necessary legal framework for managing the complexities of these innovations is still in its infancy. When human lives are on the line, self-driving automobiles need stricter regulations than a Zoom call or a Google Watch.
What occurs in the event of an accident involving a self-driving automobile is not well-established in US law. There isn’t enough time to perfect the technology. Precedent refers to how the law has been interpreted and applied in previous judicial decisions. The regulations that develop from these instances can determine who is responsible for accidents, the size of possible settlements, and the accountability of large businesses.
Not all states have uniform laws and regulations in place for autonomous vehicles. So, the outcomes of a Tesla-related car accident in Indiana may vary from those in Arizona. Before buying your first autonomous vehicle, you should familiarise yourself with the regulations in your state governing liability in such accidents. Learn more!
Do any countries regulate autonomous vehicles? Is it Relevant Anyway?
Everyone who has waited in the seemingly endless lines at the Department of Motor Vehicles knows that the automobile industry is highly regulated. Although self-driving vehicles have the potential to improve transportation greatly, they are still not legally allowed on U.S. roads. There are just a select few states that have passed laws explicitly allowing autonomous vehicles on the road.
Owning an autonomous vehicle is not technically against the law in the United States. As long as they have a licenced driver at the wheel, they are currently okay to travel. The statute also lacks specific language regarding the ratio of driver effort to vehicle effort. This creates ambiguity. After all, legislators didn’t think of autonomous vehicles when they were making rules on how to keep people safe in cars. Because of this uncertainty, there are probably more driverless cars on the road than our government is prepared for.
Responsibility’s Perilous Obstacles
Several liability frameworks for AV incidents present difficulty for AVs in terms of liability. Potential legal issues with self-driving automobiles include tort law and product liability. Tort liability encompasses the usual forms of driver responsibility, such as negligence, no-fault, and strict liability.
But if you’re not the driver, does that make it your fault as the car’s owner, or a mechanical failure? That puts the car company or its affiliates on the hook for product liability issues such as carelessness, strict liability, manufacturing faults, design problems, and failure to warn.