AUTOMATED VEHICLES: Calif. DMV discussing rules for public use of self-driving cars

Testing laws already in place, but general use laws must be finalized by end of 2014

March 14, 2014

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) hosted its first public hearing this week on self-driving cars and how they might be regulated for consumer use in the near future. The department has until the end of 2014 to come up with a viable set of regulations.

California is one of four states to already have laws on the books concerning self-driving cars; most of those existing laws, however, are related to testing of the technology. One of the California laws, passed in 2012, created a mandate for regulations covering testing and public operation, which has spurred the current discussion.

Early conversations have focused on privacy in connection with usage of vehicle data because California requires self-driving cars to log operating records in the event of an accident.

Safety is the other major concern, as human operators will need to be able to control the car in the event the automation system fails. While governmental entities would like to have a say in safety laws, others advocated for self-certification by automakers or testing of operator knowledge of self-driving technology by the DMV.