According to an article in Bloomberg Technology, a fatal autonomous vehicle collision in Temple, Arizona led Uber Technologies to suspend further testing of its self-driving cars in Arizona, as well as in a number of other cities where autonomous vehicle technology testing had been approved. Other companies, including Toyota Motor Corp., have done the same, citing the emotional toll on the safety drivers who sit behind the wheel. Still, a number of other companies continued to test self-driving cars in the days after the collision, and many cities insisted that the testing phase of autonomous vehicles is perfectly safe.
If you live in DuPage County and regularly drive in and around Chicagoland, should you be concerned about the risk of serious injury from a collision with a self-driving car that is undergoing testing?
Illinois State Government Pushes for Autonomous Vehicle Testing
What is the current state of autonomous vehicle testing in DuPage County? Late last year, Governor Bruce Rauner signed a bill into law that “prohibits local measures to ban self-driving cars in Illinois,” according to a report from Illinois Policy. In other words, DuPage County and Cook County are not permitted to ban the testing of autonomous vehicles under the state law.
Federal legislative efforts have also been gaining traction. For example, in September 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Self Drive Act, which the report describes as a measure meant to regulate self-driving vehicles on U.S. roads. But regulation does not mean doing away with the testing of self-driving cars. To be sure, under the legislation automakers would be allowed to pursue exemptions from a number of safety regulations, and allow approximately 25,000 autonomous vehicles to be on the road within the first year, and 100,000 of this type of vehicle within three years. A companion bill in the Senate, the AV Start Act, is yet to be voted on.
Those in favor of autonomous vehicle technology contend that it can reduce the rate of car accidents on America’s roads and can actually make driving safer. In addition, some advocates of self-driving cars suggest that the technology could allow elderly persons, as well as persons with disabilities, to have “increased access to transportation.” However, there are many people in Chicagoland who do not believe that self-driving cars are safe. Most notably, aldermen have vocally opposed the use of autonomous vehicles in the area. For now, however, technology companies may have the ability to test self-driving cars in Illinois.
How the Uber Accident Could Change Assumptions About Autonomous Technology
Prior to the Uber self-driving vehicle accident in Arizona, advocates in favor of autonomous technology testing seemed to be winning. However, the recent collision has many individuals and companies alike questioning the current safety of self-driving cars. As the Bloomberg Technology article emphasizes, the self-driving car industry is still struggling with the wreck, pondering over the failure of an Uber SUV that used Velodyne lidar to avoid a woman pushing a bicycle across the road and the inability of the safety driver to react appropriately.
While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has thus far largely deferred to states in determining safety regulations and testing programs for autonomous technology, the government agency may begin using its power under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act until Congress considers the bills aimed at regulating self-driving cars.
Seek Advice from a DuPage County Auto Accident Lawyer
If you were injured in a motor vehicle collision as a result of defective autonomous technology or driver negligence, an experienced DuPage County car accident lawyer can speak with you about your options. Contact Mevorah Law Offices LLC to learn more about how we can help with your case.
Whether you are going through a divorce, injured in an accident, need to file a workers' compensation claim, charged with a crime, immigrating to the United States, or need to file for bankruptcy, Mevorah Law Offices LLC can help. Our trial lawyers have over 35 years of experience helping clients throughout Northern Illinois from five offices in Lombard, Bloomindale, Joliet, St. Charles, and Chicago.
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