Regulatory hurdles may be one of the biggest obstacles to seeing self-driving cars on California roadways. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that it is seeking input into how to reduce those barriers. Primarily, it is asking interested parties for input into any regulations that may be unnecessary. The NHTSA is also asking for input into what research may be necessary to determine how to rewrite or eliminate current regulations.
Getting rid of or changing current regulations may make it easier to put truly self-driving cars on the road. Current regulations assumed that a human driver would be in the vehicle even if he or she wasn't controlling it at all times. Companies such as GM, Alphabet and Ford have been supportive of a bill that would allow the NHTSA to waive regulations and put self-driving cars without human controls on the road.
Legislation aimed at accomplishing that goal passed a Senate committee in October 2017 and has already passed in the House. It would allow up to 80,000 self-driving cars that are exempt from current NHTSA safety rules to operate on the road. The Senate bill would require permanent self-driving vehicle safety rules within a decade. Auto safety groups have said that more safeguards are necessary and that they would continue to lobby for them.
As most motor vehicle accidents are the result of human error, it is hoped that the widespread availability of autonomous vehicles will dramatically reduced their frequency. Until that time, however, people will continue to be harmed in collisions caused by negligent drivers, and they might find it advisable to have the help of a lawyer when attempting to seek compensation for the losses that they have incurred.