New Jersey residents may look forward to the day when their work commute can be handled by an autonomous car, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has advanced this possibility by allowing software to be considered a driver. Although some states are still working to decide issues such as the need for a licensed human driver, the move by the NHTSA makes it possible for Google and other companies to advance with their plans for bringing self-driven vehicles to the market.
One of the major complaints by those attempting to develop this technology has been the fact that safety rules at both state and federal levels make it difficult to test the vehicles on the nation’s roads. Even the design of such vehicles is at issue because some states want to require that steering wheels and foot brake pedals be included in self-driven cars. Those developing these vehicles counter that human drivers could interfere with the software safety features.
While human error is a common cause of car crashes, some fear that software could be vulnerable to failure or compromise. As developers proceed with their engineering, the potential for hacking and errors may continue to be a significant point of focus. Meanwhile, testing of these vehicles on the road may be needed to identify areas of vulnerability and inadequate performance. Drivers may find that self-driving cars will simplify some elements of their lives, enabling them to be more productive during a long commute. Until these technologies are perfected, however, negligence such as texting while driving will continue to contribute to serious accidents.
A driver who tries to multitask on the road could create accident risks by texting or talking on the phone. In an accident caused by such behavior, the responsible driver’s insurance policy may cover the damages suffered by others involved in the incident. Legal help might be necessary in the event that an insurance company’s settlement offer is insufficient.