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There Is No One to Ticket in a Driverless Car

Most people have heard of Google’s self-driving cars. They are in the news and many are wondering just how soon they will be available to the general public. California has long been known as one of the more progressive states when it comes to the environment and ecological ideals, but even this progressive state may not be quite ready to accept streets full of driverless cars.

Last Thursday, a police officer stopped a driverless car, currently called Google Autonomous Vehicle, on one of the city’s streets. The car wasn’t stopped because it didn’t have a driver, but because it was holding up traffic. According to California laws, cars must travel at the posted speed limits unless driving conditions prohibit it. Google’s car was traveling at 25 mph in a 35 mph zone in perfect driving conditions.

Google responded with humor, releasing a statement that said, “Driving too slowly? Bet humans don’t get pulled over for that too often.”

Google capped the speeds at which the cars can travel purposefully. They did not want their cars to frighten riders by zipping through crowded neighborhood streets. That decision, though, may need to be rethought if Google hopes to have their cars ready for the masses any time soon. Yes, the cars are friendly and approachable, but they may also be posing a danger to others on the road.

The car was well within the California law that mandates it only be driven on streets with posted speed limits of 35 mph or less, but there is no caveat that allows the car to hold up the steady flow of traffic. Google chose to cap speeds at 25 mph, but it may want to up the limit to be more in line with the legal limits on the road.

Think you are ready for an autonomous car? Not so fast. Until the kinks are worked out and more safety tests are conducted, do not expect to be able to park one in your own driveway any time soon. You may just be better off with a moped at this point in time. Keep your eyes peeled on the news to see how Google handles this situation and what tweaks their self-driving car undergoes.

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Stephen Levine, is a Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Defense — an honor achieved by only the top criminal law attorneys in California. Mr. Levine has over 40 years of experience in criminal defense and family law serving Southern California, and is a highly regarded Super Lawyer as well as AV Rated attorney.