51:1 Driving Miss Daisy: An Autonomous Chauffeur System

Abstract

Autonomous vehicles are arriving soon on the consumer market, bringing a variety of issues with them. Although autonomous vehicles are designed to be crash-less, accidents will happen. When they do, there are many legal questions that will have to be answered. Three states—California, Florida, and Nevada—have attempted to resolve some of the issues by enacting legislation relating to autonomous cars, and other states have bills in committee. However, as they are written today, the three enacted laws will prove inadequate when autonomous vehicles are sold on the consumer market because they leave open many questions regarding civil and criminal liability. To further the intended benefits of autonomous vehicle technology, proper regulations should provide legal immunity for autonomous vehicle manufacturers, require data securitization measures for the vehicles, uniformly define who is an “operator” of an autonomous vehicle, and encourage the federal government to create uniform preemption regulations.