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Fear of auto accidents raised after proposed regulation changes

Regulation has always been a hot topic in the world of autonomous vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, citing its intention to rewrite regulations in order to account for passenger-carrying autonomous vehicles without passenger controls, as well as self-driving cars designed for no passengers. Individuals in Arizona and throughout the United States have some concerns about the risk of auto accidents with these vehicles, but changes to the wording of regulations may help regulators explore these challenges within the confines of pre-existing documentation.

The NHTSA clarified in its notice that it does not intend to change any standards related to traditional vehicles. Crash testing and occupant safety precautions will also remain untouched. Instead, the changes will allow for autonomous cars to be considered within the regulations; for example, the definition of words like "driver" will be rewritten to refer to a human or an ADS.

According to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, the move aims to update rules that do not make sense in light of recent innovations. Things that may be reconsidered include crash protection standards, which could vary if passengers are seated differently. Door locks, window glazing and child restraints may also be reconsidered, depending on the makeup of these vehicles.

Some auto safety advocates have voiced concerns about the changes. They worry that writing regulations to consider vehicles that have not been thoroughly tested is premature and could impact issues such as liability and prevention of auto accidents in the future. This is a critical conversation for safety experts and car developers alike, as the NHTSA regulations are a key component in designating the responsibilities of a manufacturer in preventing accidents. Those who have been in an accident caused by a vehicle product error, or any other reason, should contact an Arizona lawyer to understand their options for compensation.

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