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Driverless Cars In New Jersey? Will It Decrease Distracted Driving Accidents?

Philip Ciprietti, NJ Car & Truck Accident Lawyer

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Have you heard about driverless cars? If you haven’t, you will soon. Driverless cars are coming to New Jersey.

During the last year, companies and auto manufacturers have been testing their driverless cars in several states in the United States.

California is one of the states that allow driverless cars to be tested on the roadways. Two months ago, they issued permits to Google, Volkswagen and Mercedes allowing them to test their driverless cars on the roads. Google’s driverless prototypes have high tech sensors that detect what is on the road, such as potholes, and keep cars out of other cars’ blind spots.

Other states such as Nevada, Michigan and Florida have also passed laws allowing driverless cars to be tested on their roads.

Late last month, the New Jersey Senate Transportation Committee approved Bill S734, which requires the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission to establish a program to allow people to obtain endorsements on their driver’s licenses to operate and test “autonomous vehicles.” The bill also requires the commission to establish regulations on the driverless cars with regard to their registration, safety standards, testing requirements and any restrictions on their use. *Source: www.nj.com(N.J. Senate panel paves way for self-driving cars)

California, for example, only allows driverless cars to be tested on the roads if they have registered permits issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Further, the permits require the companies to carry an insurance policy of $5 million on each driverless vehicle, and the permits have to renewed annually.

At the committee hearing, those in support of the driverless cars argued that these cars can dramatically reduce accidents. Further, they believe that the new technology is helpful when more and more car or truck accidents in NJ are caused by smartphones, i.e., drivers texting while driving or drivers talking on cell phones while driving.

Opponents believe that having driverless cars is unnecessary and premature. In addition, they believe that the technology is too far off for regulation. Many auto makers have already implemented even more advanced technology like lane watch assist. Opponents of driverless cars believe that use of an autonomous car is jumping the gun.

Though the bill was approved, it still needs to pass in the full state Senate and state Assembly. Thereafter, it needs to be signed by Governor Chris Christie before it becomes law.

If and when it does pass into law, whether driverless cars will decrease distracted driving and reduce car accidents will remain to be seen. Though car accidents are caused by human error, technology can also malfunction and result in error.

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