Even before driverless cars are ready for the market, they are already raising questions on who should pay for traffic fines. Most people would agree that both drones and driverless cars are the future. Recent research revealed that the number of death on US roads could be reduced by more than 90% if self-driving cars hit the road. And with giant companies like Tesla, Google, and Uber each pushing the limits of innovation to dominate the driverless car market, the question now is not if but when will a self-driving car hit the market.
Aside from being better than human drivers, autonomous cars will also give their owners a chance of using the time that generally spends on driving on doing other constructive things. However, the act remains that driverless cars are made by humans and can obviously malfunction. So in case, these cars break traffic rules, who should pay for traffic fine?
In theory, self-driving cars are designed to strictly adhere to traffic rules, including never exceeding the specific speed limit and only parking at permitted spaces. So, in other words, autonomous cars are designed never to get tickets while driving themselves. So far, there is no self-driving car that has been given a ticket yet, and that is commendable. However, machines are made by humans and are bound to fail.
Google that is on the forefront is building self-driving cars believe that should a self-driving car get a ticket, then the person who should pay for the ticket is the manufacturer of the cars driving system. According to Google, it would only make sense for the traffic police to give the ticket to the person who was controlling the vehicle, and that is the manufacturer of the car’s driving system. While speaking to journalists, Ron Medford, who directs autonomous cars for Google, pointed out that it would be unfair for traffic police to give the ticket to the car owner who was not controlling the vehicle when it committed the offense. He thinks it would make more sense if the fine is paid by the company that was responsible for the car’s error.
But the state of California sees it differently. The Californian state still considers the human seated on the vehicle to be responsible for the error and thus should be given the ticket. But Google believes that the current law should be amended to accommodate the new reality. Medford reiterated that law enforcement must accept the new fact that humans will no longer the one driving the car hence unfair to punish them for a crime that they have not committed.
Many people agree that laws need to be changed before driverless cars are allowed to roam on the roads. The California Department of Motor Vehicles has weighed in on this issue saying that when it comes to deciding who is responsible, various factors should be considered including on how automated the car is and the overall condition of the vehicle.
If the car is fully automated, then the person who should be responsible for paying the ticket should be the one who programmed the car. On the other hand, if the car is not fully automated, meaning that the owner of the vehicle controls the vehicle to some extent, then the car owner should pay for the ticket.
The general condition of the car should also be factored when determining who should pay for the ticket. As much as the car owner does not drive the car, he/she needs to ensure that the vehicle is on top condition. The self-driving car will only operate efficiently if it is well maintained. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, It will be unfair to fault the manufacturer because if car owner negligence.
However, they also agree that laws need to be changed to accommodate the new reality before driverless cars are fully integrated on our roads. But they pointed out that more testing needs to be done to prove that autonomous cars are 100% before they are accepted on our reads. The main reason why we want drivers out of our roads is to help remove drunk and reckless drivers from our roads and improve road safety. So before these cars are allowed to roam the street, they need to prove beyond doubt that they are safe.
An IPSOS survey covering 28 countries found out that Americans were more doubtful about self-driving cars than people from other countries with the poll showing that one out of six confessed that they would never use a self-driving car. This clearly shows that autonomous vehicles still have a long way to go. Also, the reality is that the roads will not be filled with 100% self-driving cars at once. There will be a transition period where self-driven cars will share roads with vehicles that are controlled by humans. This means that different rules will apply at the same time. Experts predict that there will be more confusion during the transition period and predict that more accidents will occur.
Research has shown that human errors cause many accidents. The introduction of self-driving cars is expected to end lawlessness on the read by reckless drivers that have resulted in injuries and loss of life. However, experts still warn the public not to celebrate too early when driverless cars are finally introduced on our roads. They project that the first generation of self-driven cars still has flaws that can result in accidents and break of traffic rules. However, they welcome the move saying that it is a step towards the right direction.
The debate on should pay the traffic fine for driverless cars still continue to gain momentum. Curably, people have different views regarding the matter, with some saying that the car manufacturer should pay for the ticket while others are saying that the car owner should pay for the ticket. However, what many people agree is that new laws need to be drafted once self-driving cars hit the streets.