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DMV To Vet Laws for Testing Driverless Vehicles on Tuesday

You can watch the live stream to learn what is in store for California roads.

A Google self-driving car is displayed at the Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. Photo by Justin Sullivan
A Google self-driving car is displayed at the Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. Photo by Justin Sullivan

The Department of Motor Vehicles is creating new laws to regulate testing of autonomous vehicles in California, a move that may put more driverless cars on the roads as soon as next year. 

DMV officials will vet proposed rules for the self-driving vehicles on Tuesday, January 14 in Sacramento. Most of the rules describe the ways in which these cars can be tested. 

One of the rules says that manufacturers who are testing self-driving cars on public roads would have to buy $5,000,000 worth of insurance coverage and a special permit to operate them.  Initially the cars would have to have someone in the driver’s seat who can “take over physical control of the vehicle,” according to the new terms that are being outlined by regulators.  No word on whether the cars can drive themselves to pick up that driver in the future. The people who are testing them will have to have squeaky-clean driving histories, according to Senate Bill 1298. 

The new rules also say that autonomous motorcycles, trailers, and vehicles that weigh more than 10,001 pounds cannot be tested on public rods. (If you click on that hyperlink, they start on page 1867.)

The new regulations were introduced on November 29, 2013.  They are now in a public comment period that ends on January 13, 2014.  If all goes as planned, the new rules are scheduled to be adopted no later than January 1, 2015, according to the DMV’s website.

A public hearing about these new laws will be live streamed starting at 10 a.m. on January 14 from the Assembly Room of the DMV headquarters, located at 2415 First Avenue in Sacramento. 

Do you think self-driving cars will be safer than human-driven cars? 

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