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Two new rules may pave the way for driverless cars

As the federal government has not outlined many regulations regarding autonomous vehicles yet, states have been left largely on their own in this arena. While California may be the state with some of the most regulations in place, two different agencies recently announced decisions that may leapfrog the number of driverless vehicles on area roads.

The timing of these decisions may be particularly interesting to many residents as two deaths involving vehicles in autonomous mode have happened recently, one of which occurred in California. The California Department of Motor Vehicles has issued a statement indicating that companies may receive permits to test fully autonomous vehicles without any backup drivers inside.

In addition, the California Public Utilities Commission is opening the door to these autonomous vehicles without backup drivers to be allowed to pickup and transport passengers. This decision will be voted on before being implemented. It would require that the DMV's testing permit have been in place for 90 days prior to the first passenger pickup. Age limits as well as limits on where the vehicles can take passengers are also proposed. Specific reporting requirements may also be part of the final decision.

As more self-driving vehicles hit the road, people in California might want to know that it would still be their right to seek compensation after a crash. Discussing the details with a lawyer of any accident involving these cars may be helpful to learn the best way to proceed. 

Source:, "California proposes new rules for self-driving cars to pick up passengers," Heather Somerville, April 6, 2018

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