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Governor, Jerry Brown (D) recently signed a bill making California the third state to legalize the testing of driverless vehicles. These auto-pilot cars are equipped with Google devices, including computers that regulate the speed and sensors to warn when other vehicles get too close. Although they will ultimately change the transportation industry, will they improve traffic congestions, and reduce auto accidents and fatalities?

Google claims these vehicles have proven to be safer drivers that the average human behind the wheel. All that is needed is the ability for humans to Google. Kids can Google better than adults; does that mean eventually kids will take themselves to school and football practice? Will we be required to take a Google test instead of a driver’s license test?

While supporters of driverless vehicles say the cars have faster reactions than humans and won’t speed or be distracted, fatigued, or intoxicated, others question the risks if the computer crashes. Let’s say you are traveling at 65 mph while eating a hamburger and texting a friend. Or, you are typing a report for the boss, because you are stuck in traffic. No problem, right; the computer is doing all the work? But, what happens if the computer fails? Will you realize it fast enough to avoid a fatal accident?

Driverless cars have the potential to make roads safer because digital messages will allow vehicles to stay in constant communication with one another, but unless all vehicles become driverless aren’t the risk still high? Will the robotic vehicle be able to avoid an accident if a human driver “bends the rules” a little by rolling through a stop sign? What about software updates or conditions the software may not have encountered? Let’s face it, eventually one of these vehicles will get in an auto accident. Who is liable – the person in the vehicle, the software company, the auto manufacturer? If the driverless vehicle runs a stop light, who gets the ticket?

Are you ready to give up control behind the wheel? Will you be in say five years? If these technological advances continue, you may have no choice.

Mark Bello has thirty-five years experience as a trial lawyer and thirteen years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by a plaintiff involved in pending, personal injury, litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Member of Public Justice and Public Citizen, Business Associate of the Florida, Mississippi, Connecticut, Texas, and Tennessee Associations for Justice, and Consumers Attorneys of California, member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.

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