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Software considered a driver by NHTSA

The concern about liability with a driverless car might cause many New York residents to question whether the nation is ready for this technology to be expanded. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has taken an important step related to this concern, making the decision that software can be viewed as a driver in an autonomous vehicle. Google requested this interpretation when its self-driving car division made a proposal in Nov. 2016. A letter of response received by Google in Feb. 2016 supports this classification, which opens the door for further development to proceed.

Across the nation, there are various views about self-driven vehicles, especially in connection with safety. In California, for example, there is an effort afoot to legislate the inclusion of steering wheels in these vehicles. Additionally, California lawmakers want to require the presence of a licensed driver in autonomous cars. In contrast, developers suggest that steering wheels could compromise safety standards and create a greater risk of car accidents. A licensed driver's ability to override the software driver might result in human error, a leading cause of crashes.

Consumers may watch the developments surrounding autonomous vehicles with caution. Issues such as software being hacked may contribute to suspicions about the reliability and safety of these automobiles. Additionally, consumers may wait to hear about performance reviews as such vehicles are tested on the roads. However, the ability to test the cars has been advanced because of the NHTSA decision.

Because driver error is a significant factor in car crashes, culpability is often connected to the specific errors made. Other accidents are caused by deliberate actions. Manufacturer defects can also be at issue in accidents. After a serious accident, investigation results provide direction for criminal charges and other actions, including possible personal injury litigation.

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