Self-driving cars hit a legal wall: who’s to blame when they ...

World

Self-driving cars hit a legal wall: who’s to blame when they crash?

US safety groups say the issue of liability for accidents must be settled before the vehicles are allowed onto roads

Keith Laing

A debate about who to blame, or sue, when a self-driven car hits someone is holding up legislation the industry says it needs to advance.

“If another driver hits you, it’s clear who the driver is,” Sarah Rooney, senior director of federal and regulatory affairs for the American Association for Justice, said. “It’s the human being.”

Not so when a fully self-driving car hits another vehicle or a pedestrian. Then the fault may lie with the manufacturer and the software, or with the owner if updates have not been properly installed. And if the manufacturer is at fault, a victim may seek to sue under product liability standards, as with a conventional car...

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