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NHTSA wants to remove obstacles to driverless cars

Residents of Missouri may have to wait for self-driving vehicles to make an appearance. Just as a Senate bill was passed to speed up the production and testing of such vehicles, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has hit a roadblock concerning the development of auto safety standards. In a report that the agency will make public by the end of November, it requests comments from other organizations regarding the kind of research it must undertake before writing any permanent rules.

Automakers follow close to 75 auto safety regulations, many of which are incompatible with self-driving vehicles. The NHTSA asks for input on which it should rewrite and which it should eliminate altogether. The research that is potentially involved could take years to complete, prompting some to look to Congress for further action.

It was in early October that the Senate Commerce Committee passed a bill exempting automakers from certain safety regulations if they deploy up to 80,000 self-driving cars annually in the next three years. A similar measure was approved in September by the U.S. House. This piece of landmark legislation has had the backing of corporations like General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Alphabet Inc., though some auto safety groups are concerned over the lack of safeguards. The NHTSA has 10 years to write permanent safety rules.

While it is unclear how self-driving cars will affect personal injury law, the fact remains that human negligence is a major factor behind most car accidents. Those who are injured because another driver was distracted, drowsy, or speeding may benefit from consulting with a lawyer . A lawyer may be able to help with determining a settlement amount or may hire investigators to build up the case and then negotiate with the other driver's insurance company, litigating as a last resort.

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