Shaping the future of car safety

The Joplin Globe recently ran an article that had us wonder: what would
you do if you had an invention with the potential to save thousands of
lives every year, but the device was illegal to operate? That’s the
dilemma technology giant Google faced with its driverless cars.

The vehicles piloted by computers might well prevent thousands of
accidents, injuries and fatalities, but because they have no steering wheels and
no brake pedals, they were not legal to operate.

However, by this time in 2015, the company will have a small fleet of driverless
cars legally operating in its home state of California.

Google’s approach to getting its cars on the road was one you don’t
see many companies take: it asked lawmakers for regulation. Beginning
first in Nevada in early 2011, the company dazzled the governor and other
policy makers with test rides.

A law was quickly ushered through the legislative process, followed by
a trip to the DMV, where the agency created rules for the law’s
implementation. With Google experts available to share information on
how the technology works, DMV staff was able to fashion an unprecedented
set of rules.

By the end of the year, Nevada was ready for tests of driverless cars.
Google was already shifting its plans to its California home, however,
using the Nevada blueprint: impressing lawmakers with test rides and persuasive
arguments about safety and job creation.

Because Nevada already had a law welcoming the technology, California lawmakers
felt a need to respond.

By September of 2012, the state’s governor was in Google’s
offices to sign a bill legalizing and regulating driverless cars. By June
of next year, if testing goes as planned, the public could get its hands
on driverless cars.

For now, people still cause car accidents resulting in painful injuries
to others. Accident injury victims can pursue compensation for injuries,
medical bills, lost wages and more with the help of a personal injury attorney.

Source: Joplin Globe, “How Google got states to legalize driverless cars,”
May 30, 2014


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