Maryland Lawmakers Buckle Up to Regulate Self-driving Cars

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)– Maryland lawmakers buckled up in Annapolis Monday to talk about the future of regulating self-driving cars.

Eight states, plus Washington D.C. have laws regulating driver-less cars. Maryland is not one of them, but that may not last long.

Self-driving car technology is picking up speed. More cars are being tested that can brake, accelerate, and avoid obstacles, with back-up help from a real driver.

Tuesday afternoon, committee members took the wheel on Maryland’s plans to regulate them.

“We do have an autonomous and connected vehicle working group already in place. It’s a multi representative group from law enforcement, state and local level, private industries represented,” said Christine Nizer of the Motor Vehicle Administration.

Monday, Federal transportation officials pumped the brakes, laying out plans for regulations nationwide, including 15 aggressive safety requirements for manufacturers.

“By laying the markers we’re laying, we’re simultaneously allowing innovation to happen and introducing and raising the level of safety on these vehicles,” said Anthony Foxx, U.S. Transportation Secretary.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 95 percent of crashes are cause by human error, but the idea of a hands-off commute has some drivers torn.

“Particularly for an older couple, aging, if if we could get a driver-less car, that would be great! But I’d be scared to drive in one,” said one man.

“I don’t know, I think I’d be OK with it. I feel like it’s not any more dangerous than having an actual person behind the wheel,” said another woman.

Still, for Maryland’s lawmakers, it’s about keeping pace with the future of transportation and making the roads a safer place.

Lawmakers still had many questions about liability, hacking, and infrastructure. All questions they hope to have answered as the technology develops.

There have been few accidents involving driver-less technology. Two people have been killed using Tesla’s autopilot feature.

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