Driverless cars have been grabbing headlines all over the world as technology companies race to create autonomous vehicles. California has been at the forefront of the driverless car movement as the most populous state in the U.S. But while the state is undoubtedly the leader in driverless car innovation, drivers must be cautioned that California state law provides no immunity to traffic tickets for driverless cars.
Under the current laws, driverless cars can still be ticketed for traffic violations such as speeding, running red lights, or making illegal turns. Driverless cars have sensors that detect traffic patterns and slightly adjust their speed to maintain the speed limit. However, the sensors are limited in what data they can process. As a result, it is possible for driverless cars to illegally speed, run red lights or make illegal turns.
Despite the legal risk of being ticketed for a traffic violation, driverless cars, their operators, and owners are still generally considered safer than humans. Driverless car companies and supporters point to the fact that the cars are programmed to obey traffic laws and their sensors help them react more quickly than human drivers.
The reality is that driverless cars are still relatively new technology that is constantly evolving and improving, making it unwise to immediately grant the technology immunity from traffic tickets. In the meantime, it is important for driverless car operators and owners to be aware of the legal risks and bear in mind that their vehicles could still be ticketed for traffic violations. While the laws surrounding driverless cars continue to evolve, it is currently necessary that they remain accountable for any traffic violations.