California Legalizes Self-Driving Cars; Could Accidents Follow?

On Tuesday, September 25, California became the third state to legalize self-driving cars – but many wonder what the future will look like with autonomous vehicles and how self-driving cars could impact the future rate of California automobile accidents, injuries, and fatalities.

Governor Jerry Brown traveled to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View this week to sign a bill that asks the state to begin developing safety regulations related to self-driving cars as companies like Google explore and test their operation. Google co-founder Sergey Brin was with the governor during the signing and spoke of the exciting future of self-driven cars that use Google Maps software to navigate. He stated that he believed autonomous vehicles were no more than five years away from being on the market.

However, not everyone is convinced that legalizing the development of self-driven cars will be a positive change. Some worry that inaccuracies in Google maps could lead to accidents, as could road construction, outdated information, and unpredictable hazards. Others say that the cutting-edge cars may create more accidents than they prevent, especially in their first years of development and use.

Google has stated that their self-driving cars have driven 300,000 miles without getting into a car accident—and that the only time that their self-driving vehicles have been involved in a crash was when the car was being controlled by a human while in manual mode. Last August, a self-driving car caused a rear-end accident in Mountain View, but Google reported that a human driver was behind and wheel and at fault for the fender-bender.

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