On Self-Driving Cars

-REPORTER, 13 DECEMBER 2015, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:

Recently, one of Google’s self-driving cars was pulled over.

While no ticket was given, it raised the question of who it would be issued to in such a situation. Bryant Walker Smith, an assistant professor in the University of South Carolina’s School of Law, explained to The Washington Post thatCalifornia law permits the testing of such technology if there is a human operator. So, subsequently, the operator would be responsible for any tickets given to the vehicle.    

California — being where Google and others have conducted much of their testing — is relatively unique in having legislation in place. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only seven states (California, Florida, Nevada, Michigan, North Dakota, Tennessee and Arizona) and Washington D.C. have formally authorized the use of self-driving cars. Arizona has done so via executive order not legislation. States like Virginia and Texas, however, allow for their usage simply because it is not illegal, highlighting how little framework there actually is. <Read More>