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NHTSA to develop safety guidelines for self-driving cars

In early October, a Senate committee approved a bill that could speed up the manufacturing and testing of self-driving cars. It allows the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to exempt automakers from meeting certain safety standards and allow them to deploy up to 80,000 self-driving cars annually for the next three years. In September, the House of Representatives passed a similar measure. The bill has been called a landmark in legislation, with the support of corporations like General Motors and Ford Motor Company, but North Carolina motorists should know that there are some hurdles involved.

The NHTSA said that it will need to conduct research before deciding whether to rewrite some regulations and eliminate others. There are currently close to 75 safety regulations, many of which are incompatible with the new reality of driverless cars, so research may take several years before decisions are finalized. Under the Senate bill, the agency will be writing up the rules within a decade.

The NHTSA awaits further input on how to overcome unnecessary obstacles to the development of safety standards. At the same time, some auto safety groups are pushing for changes that will provide more safeguards during the manufacturing process.

With self-driving vehicles far in the future, victims of car crashes must still deal with issues like proving that the other driver was negligent or reckless. A lawyer can assess a personal injury claim through reviewing the police report and medical documents and interviewing witnesses. The lawyer can then attempt to negotiate a settlement on the client's behalf with the insurance company of the at-fault driver.

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