Jeff Sheppard Explores How Car Safety Laws Will Need to Keep up With Driverless Cars

Posted on: February 12, 2018
NEW JERSEY. Can car safety laws keep up with new technology? Wired claims that auto safety laws are outdated and that they threaten the self-driving car industry. While self-driving cars certainly can make driving a safer enterprise, it is important that they be found safe before they are released to the public. Similarly, it is important that lawmakers change the codes to reflect technological advances. According to the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, 95% of car accidents are the result of human error. However, self-driving cars also bring with them their own set of risks. For example, some self-driving vehicles continue to have difficulty navigating roundabouts. Self-driving vehicles also cannot read social cues that drivers give one another. There are many aspects of driving that cannot be monitored by a camera. Perhaps the greatest danger is not having a world of only self-driving cars, but a world in which self-driving cars and human cars try to co-exist.

Can federal laws keep up with new technology? One problem is that lawmakers may not always be aware of the intricacies involved in designing self-driving cars. Lawmakers are, after all, not engineers. To make matters more complicated, antiquated rules remain on the books and these laws don’t always reflect technological advances. For example, current laws would make it difficult for automakers to implement automatic lights on autonomous vehicles. U.S. safety laws require cars to have high and low beam settings which inhibit the implementation of new, and possibly safer technology.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration itself has identified as many as 45 percent of current regulations that could get in the way of car manufacturers’ ability to deploy autonomous vehicles. While some of these laws could ensure autonomous vehicle safety, some might be old rules that applied to cars from a former era.

Will autonomous vehicles really be safer than human-driven cars? As distracted driving deaths increase and as autonomous technology improves, it appears that self-driven cars could be indeed safer. But technology needs to be tested. Regulators need to know what standards they want to set, and the public needs to inform itself about the benefits and drawbacks of self-driving technology.

What can you do to protect yourself behind the wheel? First of all, put away your cell phone. Understand that current self-driving features on cars are not meant to replace your actions. Finally, learn about self-driving technology and its limitations so that you can vote for lawmakers who will put in place smart regulation.

Until cars change, accidents will continue to occur due to human error. If you or a loved one was hurt in a car crash in New Jersey, consider speaking to the personal injury lawyer at Jeff Sheppard, Esq. Our firm works closely with victims and families facing a range of challenges after suffering a personal injury. You and your loved ones may be entitled to seek damages for medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Visit us at to learn more.