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Hurdles involved in regulating driverless car safety

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been tasked with writing the safety regulations for self-driving vehicles. This comes as the result of a bill passed by the Senate Commerce Committee in October, which also grants exemptions for up to 80,000 self-driving vehicles that automakers deploy each year within the next three years. However, there are some roadblocks, so drivers in West Virginia may have to wait several more years before getting their hands on a driverless car.

In particular, the NHTSA requires further input on what research it should conduct before revising or eliminating current auto safety guidelines. There are nearly 75 such guidelines, many of which are, naturally, based on the assumption that human drivers are in control of the vehicle. Research may take years, but the Senate bill has given the agency a window of 10 years in which to finalize a set of rules.

By the end of November, the NHTSA should make its notice public. Though the Senate bill has been supported by corporations like General Motors, Alphabet Inc. and Ford Motor Company, some auto safety groups are worried about the lack of safeguards and state that they will continue to fight for change. How this will converge with the NHTSA's efforts remains to be seen.

In spite of safety guidelines, the fact remains that negligence and recklessness are the main causes of car crashes, not defective vehicles. Victims can hire an attorney to determine just how negligent the other driver was and how much a settlement might bring in. A successful injury claim could cover things like medical expenses, rehabilitative care, lost wages and vehicle damage. The lawyer could have investigators build up the case before presenting it to the other party's insurance company. Failing at negotiations, the victim will want to litigate with the same legal help.

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