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Who Holds Liability for Self-Driving Cars?

Author: Portner & Shure
Science fiction dreams are just around the corner. Self-driving cars like those developed by Google are becoming ever more popular. Car manufacturers like BMW and Audi are also making an investment in self-drive features such as park assist. California expanded laws recently as a step to accommodate this evolving technology, allowing for driver-less cars to be driven on the roads so long as there is a licensed driver behind the wheel to take charge in case of an emergency. In this case, the driver behind the wheel would be the one who is liable for any accidents. Nevada also joined this trend in allowing for self-driving cars on their roads so long as they have a special license plate, a licensed driver in the driver's seat, and a passenger. Texas adapted by stipulating that a self-driving car must have a licensed driver liable for any accidents, even if there is no driver in the actual vehicle. It will be interesting to see if, in the future, insurance coverage for these vehicles will be on the manufacturer as opposed to the owner.

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