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NHTSA faces roadblocks to driverless car safety regulations

In early October, a Senate committee approved a bill that will grant exemptions to automakers for up to 80,000 self-driving cars produced annually in the next three years. These exemptions, which will speed up the production and testing of such vehicles, are applied to current auto safety guidelines. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will be granting the waivers and formulating new regulations at the same time. However, the agency has hit a bit of a roadblock, which means that Mississippi residents may not see self-driving cars on the road anytime soon.

The NHTSA has asked for further comments regarding the kind of research it should conduct before deciding whether to rewrite or eliminate current regulations. It claims that the unsuitability of these regulations, of which there are close to 75, to the reality of self-driving cars is an unnecessary roadblock. The Senate bill has given the agency 10 years in which to write permanent rules, but the research itself may take several years to complete.

The NHTSA has stated that it will make the notice public by the end of November. The Senate bill has the support of corporations like Ford Motor Company and General Motors Company, though some auto safety groups are concerned about the lack of safeguards and are pushing for change.

So long as people are in control of their vehicles, distracted driving and other negligent behavior will continue to cause car crashes. Victims should know that they have the right to seek appropriate compensation. A lawyer representing an injured victim might attempt to obtain a settlement from the at-fault motorist's insurer before filing a personal injury lawsuit.

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