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Self-driving cars raise safety concerns

Many safety advocates in Maryland and around the country are concerned about the potential roadway repercussions of the development of self-driving cars. While a number of major corporations are pursuing projects related to autonomous vehicles, consumer advocates are urging enhanced safety testing and certifications for the vehicles.

Advocates have urged a system to certify the cars' safety before they are put on the roads in testing programs as well as a lower cap on the number of such vehicles that can be tested on the roads. Their input came in response to consideration of legislation in the House of Representatives to increase testing allowances for autonomous vehicles.

The issue has received a significant amount of attention as large corporations compete to develop successful self-driving cars. Proponents of the technology say it would increase, rather than hinder, roadway safety.

They point out that there were over 40,000 fatalities on highways in the United States in 2016 and over 2 million injuries, saying that such self-driving cars could slash those disturbing numbers. Companies developing the cars have also called for federal regulation of the testing rather than widely differing state-based regulations.

While many safety advocates do prefer federal regulation rather than a potentially confusing array of state laws, they have also warned about leaving the road open to autonomous cars. They worry that the self-driving vehicles may carry software defects or programming issues that could hinder rather than advance driving safety.

Whether a person has been injured by a self-driving car or one driven by another person, the effects of a car crash can be devastating. Such crashes can cause major medical impacts and significant medical bills. People injured by a car crash can consult a personal injury lawyer to determine how best to move forward and pursue compensation for the damages caused by the accident.

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