Watch Out for Self-Driving Cars!

Google’s self-driving cars are headed for Northern Virginia highways! Depending upon your view of this technology, that could be an exciting announcement or a horror movie come true.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch has a thorough article that explains a new experiment and testing partnership that is being overseen by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Basically, the cars have to undergo rigorous safety testing on test tracks in Virginia first, then they will be allowed to operate on the open roads of I-95, I-495, I-66 and VA-234.

Yep, you read that right. Some of Northern Virginia’s most congested and accident-prone roadways will be home to computer-controlled-cars.

I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about this. I love technology, and I’m excited what the future will bring for highway safety and more efficient transportation.

BUT, it’s hard to envision how a computer can reliably control a vehicle with unpredictable drivers and road situations all around it.

On the other hand, all the self-driving cars need to do is to be BETTER than human drivers. They don’t have to be flawless in order to improve road safety.

Here’s the truly interesting issue for me: How will we adapt our traffic laws to hold the human operators responsible when the computer gets it wrong? If your Google car can’t stop in time in rush hour traffic, will you still get a following too closely ticket? Would the car even let you override it to stop?

In the meantime, let’s see how this testing experiment pans out on the beast that is I-95. If any road can kill a computerized car concept, I-95 is the best contender.

Photo by: distracted eating

Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then, I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.

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