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NHTSA to revise regulations for self-driving vehicles

Residents of North Carolina may be interested to know that there is a push to revise current auto safety standards that apply to self-driving vehicles. In September, the U.S. House passed a measure that would exempt automakers deploying up to 80,000 self-driving vehicles in the next three years from having to meet all safety standards. A U.S. Senate committee unanimously gave the go-ahead to a bill in early October to further speed up the process. It has found support with General Motors Company, Ford Motor Company and Alphabet Inc.

Under the Senate bill, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will grant the exemptions and have to create permanent rules on driverless car safety within the next decade. In late October, the NHTSA requested input on how to eliminate regulatory roadblocks to autonomous vehicles.

In particular, the agency has asked advice on what research to conduct before deciding whether it should revise or eliminate current regulations. There are nearly 75 vehicle safety standards, many of which are geared toward cars under human control. These present the greatest roadblock, the NHTSA says. Furthermore, the research that the agency plans to conduct may take years to finish.

Many auto safety groups have urged more safeguards as there are already such a high number of car accidents every year in the U.S. Whether a crash is caused by a driverless or traditional vehicle, a victim can file a claim against the at-fault party. A lawyer could negotiate on the victim's behalf with the other party's insurance company.

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