Driverless cars are all the rage in the news cycle right now, especially after Google revealed this video of its autonomous vehicle driving around with no input from humans. Even if the driver wished to override the cars computer system and steer into that coffee shop on the way to work, he couldn’t. That’s because there’s no steering wheel. Or brake pedal. Or accelerator. Just a computer system linked to a drivetrain that gets you to where you want to go.
For many people, the idea of having a car drive itself while its occupants relax, read the paper or even sleep is a revolutionary concept. It frees people from the burdens and responsibilities of having to drive. For others, the driverless car brings about a fear of relying too heavily on technology that seems susceptible to failure or an end to car culture. Regardless of your opinion, the important question is, are they even legal?
Now here’s where it gets interesting. In terms of automotive laws, anything not clearly prohibited is technically allowed. At the time most laws were written, self-driving vehicles were a futuristic concept never thought to become a reality. As a result, no state has a law that explicitly prevents the use of a self-driving vehicle.