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Driverless Trucks Hit the Golden State

» Posted January 31, 2020Resources | Share This Post

The driverless trucks are coming.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles recently announced that it will allow autonomous light duty trucks and cargo vans to be tested on public roads in the Golden State, according to CNBC. Companies using those vehicles will have to register with the DMV, have a “safety driver” on board while testing and meet certain technology and reporting standards.

“The adoption of these regulations means Californians soon could receive deliveries from an autonomous vehicle provided the company fulfills the requirements,” California DMV Director Steve Gordon said in a press release. “As always, public safety is our primary focus.”

Safety drivers will be required to be seated behind the wheel of autonomous trucks, ready to take over if needed, among other requirements for testing. Testers will also have to certify that they have systems in place to communicate with a remote operator and with local law enforcement.

A total of 65 companies already have permits to test autonomous passenger vehicles in California, CNBC reports. That group, which is also required to have test drivers on board, includes Apple, General Motors and Tesla.

Safety Concerns, Legal Protections

The new testing arrangements come amid ongoing safety concerns regarding driverless vehicles. The DMV has recorded six accidents involving an autonomous vehicle since the start of the year.

At least two drivers have been killed in accidents involving Tesla vehicles operating in Semi-autonomous Autopilot mode. That includes a California man who died in 2018 when his Tesla sport utility vehicle collided with a freeway barrier in Redwood City.

Meanwhile, all the new bells and whistles and technological advances have not prevented many cars from rolling off of factory floors with serious defects. Those problems raise serious safety hazards for drivers, passengers and anyone else on the road.

The good news for California car owners is that the state’s lemon law requires carmakers to perform various repairs on vehicles while they are under warranty. A car manufacturer that cannot or will not make those repairs is required to buy the car back and compensate the owner for other related expenses. The manufacturer can instead offer to replace the car, but it is the owner’s choice whether to accept that alternative arrangement.

Consult a California Lemon Law Attorney

If you are a car owner haggling with your car’s manufacturer over defects and repairs, an experienced California lemon law attorney can help. A lawyer can help you weigh your rights and options to ensure that the carmaker is held fully accountable.

At the Bickel Law Firm, we have represented hundreds of clients in defective vehicle cases across California. We work tirelessly to get the people we represent the compensation they deserve and we have a strong track record of successful results.

Our offices are conveniently located in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco.  Call us at (888) 800-1983 or contact us online to speak with a California lemon law attorney today.


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