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Automated vehicles in Ohio

by | Apr 3, 2018 | Car Accidents

Automated driverless vehicles…did you ever think this was possible?

Are they safe? What regulations have been put in place to ensure safe roads in Ohio?

An Arizona Uber driverless vehicle made headlines earlier this month when the vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian crossing the street. It’s the first known fatality involving driverless vehicles since the robotic cars have been implemented on public roadways. 

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, there were 37,461 deaths in traffic-related accidents in the U.S. in 2016. That amounts to 1.18 fatalities per 100 miles.

The manufacturers of the driverless vehicles have been pursuing states to take a serious look at the safety aspects of these new-age vehicles claiming they are the safest way to travel. They report that their vehicles, compared to regular vehicles, take human error and distractions out of the equation.

Even though automated vehicles have existed since the 1980’s, recent advances have made it possible for companies to expand and incorporate this new technology into many areas across the country, even into Ohio. Currently, driverless vehicles can also be encountered on the stretch of Ohio U.S. 33. This is the only stretch of road that allows this type of travel. But, before you either avoid this stretch altogether or hit the road to witness this rare occurrence, take a gander at the regulations that have been set in our state. But, this restricted roadway won’t always be the only one. Soon, that could change.

One day, we may be backseat passengers in our own vehicles.

How can Ohio learn from this tragedy?

According to the Ohio Department of Transportation, it seeks to support the technology and transportation industry, state and local governments, and other key stakeholders as they consider and design the best practices relative to the testing and deployment of automated vehicle technologies.

Public hearing are being held in the state department to discuss and gather information on creating regulations for Ohio roadways in respect to automated cars, but they have not been developed as of yet.

Currently, Ohio is a comparative negligence state. That means, for regular driven vehicles, that both drivers could be responsible for a collision- say, 50/50, unless one violates a traffic law. Such violations could include, disobeying a traffic signal, driving while intoxicated, failing to assure a clear distance, etc.

For now, regulations for automated, driverless vehicles is managed from state to state. A Senate bill, if passed, would free automated vehicle manufactures from some existing safety standards and pre-empt states from creating their own vehicle safety laws. Similar legislation has been passed in the House. The Senate version has passed a committee vote but hasn’t reached a full floor vote. That vote is expected soon.

For more information regarding Ohio traffic regulations, contact the personal injury attorneys at Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima at our office.