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Laws Surrounding Driverless Vehicles in Question View Count: 330

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Michigan is one of the few states that has begun acknowledging driverless cars in their laws, according to Crain’s Detroit Business. The laws in Michigan were passed in December and they are for the testing of these vehicles.

William Kohler, the head of Clark Hill PLC’s automotive practice, said, “For truly autonomous vehicles to be successfully implemented in volume and in multiple states — a critical mass of deployment — there are going to need to be significant changes in law. One is permitting these vehicles on roadways, and that will take a number of years.”

Many analysts and legal experts feel that it driverless vehicles were on the roads today they would cause varying court rulings.

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“For autonomous vehicles to appear — nontesting — on American roads, there needs to be state-level legislation authorizing the operation of autonomous vehicles on states’ roads. That has occurred in only a few states subject to regulations being developed,” Kohler said.

Outside of the laws, the basic terminology of these vehicles cannot be agreed upon. Right now, the only two words to describe the vehicles are autonomous and driverless. Many of the vehicle’s developers would like to use the word ‘automated’ to describe the vehicles.

“We won’t have major manufacturers committing to production of autonomous vehicles in volume until they can be sold in most states, not just one state,” Kohler said.

A lot of work will need to be done in order to weed out the issues involved with driverless vehicles and the laws that will govern them across the country.
“Those who understand the legal issues — and anticipate them — will be well-rewarded,” Kohler said.

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