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New guidelines for self-driving vehicle laws proposed

New guidelines for self-driving vehicle laws have been proposed in a Jan. 6, 2014, report by researchers at the RAND Corporation led by James Anderson, a senior behavioral scientist at RAND..

Google driverless car operating on a testing path.
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The study was inspired by the 500,000 mile accident free record of Google’s driverless vehicle as of March 2013 and included the input of insurance agencies, automobile manufacturers, state regulatory agencies, and communication companies.

Self-driving vehicles were found to reduce the number of accidents by at least 33 percent, provide transportation for people that are physically incapable of driving cars, and to reduce traffic congestion in cities.

Driverless cars may also increase the amount of driving that people engage in and produce the need for higher levels of road repair.

The major problem in accepting self-driving vehicles is the variation in laws that already exist in some states and that are proposed in other states that involve driverless vehicles.

The researchers argue for a national policy that considers the time frame involved before driverless cars are completely available at a cost that most people could be able to afford, the reconstruction of distracted driving laws to accommodate driverless vehicles, and clarification of insurance coverage for driverless cars. The researchers also stress the importance of computer systems that cannot be hacked in driverless vehicles.

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