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Self-driving technology on Louisiana roads

Louisiana drivers may have more options when it comes to buying a car thanks to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's decision to consider the software piloting Google self-driving cars to be the "driver" under federal law. This decision is a significant step towards the acceptance of autonomous vehicles across the country. Google's proposal explained that there is no need for a human driver for its vehicles to operate.

The NHTSA will use the term 'driver" to refer to Google's artificial intelligence system that is capable of operating a vehicle independently. Other major car manufacturers are in competition to develop self-driving vehicles, even if the technology is only capable of operating autonomously on a part-time basis. All manufacturers in this developmental space have criticized federal safety rules that prevent them from effectively testing and putting autonomous vehicles to use.

California has proposed a set of rules that would require self-driving cars to have steering wheels and to operate only with a licensed driver present in the vehicle. Google maintains, however, that the presence of a human driver is the most significant safety concern regarding autonomous vehicles. Humans may try to take control of a self-driving vehicle that includes steering wheels and brakes, which could lead to car accidents. The NHSTA has expressed an openness to waiving certain vehicle safety rules with the goal of allowing more self-driving vehicles on the road.

Self-driving vehicles may reduce the occurrence of auto accidents in the future, but accidents caused by negligent human drivers still result in many injuries each year. Injured victims may face overwhelming medical expenses as well as the loss of wages if they are unable to work. In such cases, a personal injury lawyer may often provide assistance in seeking compensation for these and other losses.

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