Look, No Hands! Self-Driving Bus Run in Las Vegas Raises Liability Questions
Las Vegas soared into 2017 making headlines right away—the city was running a test on its first self-driving bus! While these automobiles may certainly be the wave of the future for Vegas and other cities, not to mention the public at some point, even this short test run has raised some serious liability issues.
The first test performed on a self-driving bus (known as “Arma”) in Las Vegas was done in January 2017. The test run was short, just three blocks along Fremont Street. Arma moved at approximately 16 miles per hour (although it can move as fast as 30 mile per hour).
How Can a Bus Drive Itself?
With sensors that automatically tell the machinery to stop when there’s something in its path—a person or other vehicle, for instance—and emergency buttons that allow passengers to disembark at any time, the self-driving bus seems relatively safe. However, there are serious concerns that come along with these self-driving buses.
One of the biggest concerns is that there’s very little legislation at all on these buses that, some say, may become a large part of Las Vegas’ dynamic. While the Nevada Legislature and the Department of Motor Vehicles is currently accepting applications for testing purposes only (meaning vehicles are not yet available to the public), the rules and requirements for those testing vehicles are very few.
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
For instance, what if a self-driving bus were to stop for a twig in the road, causing another driver to hit it from behind? Or what if a passenger was trying to exit the bus and the bus started driving again before the passenger had fully disembarked? What if part of the self-driving bus malfunctioned, causing an accident? Who would be at fault: the bus manufacturer or the “driver?” And who is driving that bus?
These are just a few of the issues quickest to crop up when it comes to the latest self-driving bus in Las Vegas. And while it may be years before these vehicles are available to the public, the questions are certainly valid.
If you have any more questions about the legalities of self-driving buses, or if you’ve been involved in a bus accident, contact Breyer Law Offices, P.C. at (702) 380-8000. We have a live representative waiting to review your case!