The Driverless Car and the Legal System: Hopes And Fears As The Courts, Regulatory Agencies, Waymo, Tesla and Uber Deal With This Exciting and Terrifying New Technology


Author Information : Dan Rice, J.D., M.B.A., Esq. Professor of Practice Syracuse University

Year of Publication : Journal for Strategic Innovation and Sustainability (2019)

Summary of Findings : The legal system in search of justice and private companies in search of profits are struggling to manage the introduction of the driverless car into society.

Research Questions : The paper discusses current developments with the driverless car.

What we know : Over ninety per cent of car accidents are due to driver error. The new autonomous technology could be the solution to the deaths and injuries caused in car accidents every day.

Novel Findings : This paper discusses the profound impact that this new technology will have on society.

Implications for Practice : In my view the self driving car will have the largest impact on the public since the smartphone. It has the ability to remodel the transportation industry. It will also affect car insurance costs, medical costs and a variety of other businesses that are too lengthy to describe here.

Implications for Policy: Each year over a million people are killed in car accidents worldwide. The new technology should be encouraged by policy makers as each day the deaths and injuries continue on the roads.

Implications for Society: The implications for society are too lengthy to be described here. However here are a few.

1) Over one million Americans are arrested each year for DWI/DUI.

2) About two million Americans are injured each year in car accidents.
3) About one million people are killed each year worldwide.
4) The car insurance industry will change greatly.
5) The transportation industry will change greatly.
6) The suburban court system has a enormous percentage of cases related to speeding, DWI and other driving related cases.

All of these current factors in society will change with the adoption of this technology.

Abstract : There are an astounding number of deaths and injuries resulting from car accidents each year. Since the development of the motor vehicle, societies and legal systems have considered vehicular deaths and injuries as an acceptable cost when compared to the benefits of the motor vehicle. The development of the driverless car has the potential to reduce the carnage that result from motor vehicle accidents. Many of these unnecessary deaths and injuries will be prevented by the new technology. This paper discusses how the legal system in pursuit of justice and corporations in pursuit of profits deal with this new technology.

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The legal system in search of justice and private companies in search of profits are struggling to manage the introduction of the driverless car into society.

Daniel Rice

Professor of Law & Public Policy Practice at Whitman School of Management
Professor Rice teaches law and public policy courses to management students at the Whitman School of Management. He earned a J.D. from Syracuse University's College of Law, as well as an MBA from the Whitman School.
Daniel Rice

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