A Look to the Future
The State of California is dynamic, innovative, and home to groundbreaking technology. It should come as no surprise that the future of driving in California would be largely autonomous. From driverless cargo trucks to autonomous pods that zip you around the city, Californians can expect to do less driving and more riding in 50 years.
But what does this mean for you, and how will autonomous vehicles change the legal landscape in California? These questions deserve answering because we must envision our future to prepare for it.
How Driving Is Changing
Just this decade, ride-share services like Uber and Lyft have dramatically changed the way we get around the state. Many rely on ride-share for their daily commute. Others turn to the taxicab alternatives when they find themselves without a designated driver. Industry leaders have predicted a driverless future in as little as 50 years, and California is one state primed to hit the ground running when driving becomes obsolete.
New Modes of Transport
Eventually, driverless cars will dominate transportation in the State of California. And it is going to happen sooner than you think. Right now, the California DMV Office of Administrative Law is laying forth regulations that will allow companies to test driverless cars on California roads. While safety is an obvious concern, the State of California is working hard to accommodate companies producing driverless cars. These regulations will make it easier for companies to test and deploy their driverless cars.
California has a series of autonomous vehicle permits manufactures can apply for. These permits allow autonomous operation of vehicles if all other requirements are met. Manned tests of autonomous vehicles are underway in California already. Driverless testing permits will not begin being issued until spring of 2018.
When autonomous vehicles make their full debut, you may find yourself driving on the same roads with driverless cars. Industry experts affirm driverless cars will be much safer than cars with drivers. This increase in safety is due in part to the sensors and other new technologies that allow autonomous vehicles to anticipate and avoid collisions. But regardless, accidents can still occur, so always drive with precaution.
What About Rural California?
It's possible the rural areas of California will remain relatively untouched by autonomous vehicles. Where demand is too low to support infrastructure, fewer companies will invest in connecting rural California with the suburban and urban sprawl. Even today, those drinking in rural areas find themselves with far fewer options when it's time to get home. As a result, too many people get behind the wheel when they shouldn't simply because they lack better options. Hopefully, Californians all over the state will have more options for safe transportation in the years to come.
California's driving laws are unlikely to change significantly with the advent of driverless cars. It will be some time before driverless cars are affordable enough to be entirely mainstream. As a result, many people will continue to drive their cars. While autonomous vehicles will be subject to numerous regulations, California drivers can expect to be subject to the same laws and face the same penalties for driving crimes such as DUI and reckless driving. In 50 years, however, much fewer Californians will be getting behind the wheel. We can speculate that this will reduce the rate of DUI arrests and DUI fatalities, but that remains to be seen.
In the meantime, know that California driving laws are only getting stricter. And as DUI fatalities continue to be a major cost to the State, the penalties for DUIs are unlikely to lessen, even as more and more autonomous vehicles hit the road.
Driving in California is likely to get more complicated. DUI laws continue to change and become broader in scope, and the punishments for driving crimes become steeper. You should consult with a California driving crime defense attorney if you are facing charges for DUI, wet reckless driving, reckless driving, or any other driving crime. You will need an attorney with vast experience and a deep understanding of current California driving crime laws. Only by working with an experienced attorney can you have the best chance at fighting your charges.
Have you been arrested and are facing DUI charges? Visalia area DUI defense attorney Christopher Martens can help you get the outcome you deserve. With over ten years of criminal defense experience, Mr. Martens has handled thousands of cases and has taken over 50 to trial. Attorney Christopher Martens has the skills and knowledge needed to defend your rights. Serving the Visalia and Fresno areas, The Law Offices of Christopher Martens can provide expert criminal defense counsel. Call our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.