blog home Car Accidents California Legalizes Self-Driving Cars: Google Drives

California Legalizes Self-Driving Cars: Google Drives

By Ross Jurewitz on October 1, 2012

California Gov. Edmund Brown signed the autonomous-vehicle bill, SB 1298, into law on September 25, 2012 at Google headquarters in Mountain View, CA. So far Florida, Nevada, and California are the only three U.S. states that have passed laws regarding autonomous vehicles.

SD Car Accident Injury VictimThe bill will allow Google to test driverless cars on public roadways in California as long as a licensed human is behind the wheel in the event that the robotic functions fail and a physical driver is needed. The bill will also establish regulations on performance and safety in order to determine when the self-driving car is road-ready, which will be developed and implemented by the Department of Motor Vehicles by January 1, 2015.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin has hopes that in a decade, self-driving cars will be commercially available to the general public.


According to Google, driverless cars will dramatically improve the quality of our lives. With intoxication, distractions, and speeding accidents occurring because of human error, a self-driving car has the potential to reduce these major types of traffic fatalities from occurring. When a human can get tired and suffer from drowsiness, the self-driving car will not get tired and function consistently.

Another advantage of self-driving cars is that it gives people that couldn’t normally drive an option to still get transported independently. If someone was intoxicated, disabled, or even blind, they have the ability through driverless cars to travel to another location under their condition.

The cars would also have the ability to reduce traffic congestion by using highways more efficiently. Instead of driver’s trying to speed pass each other and switch lanes, self-driving cars would chain to other cars in proximity to travel at a safe and constant rate to maintain road order.

Safety & Legal Concerns

The cars have been already going through testing in Nevada and have driven over 300,000 miles. According to CNN, there have been no accidents of any Google autonomous vehicle. The only accident that ever occurred by a Google self-driving car was when the vehicle was controlled by a human.

According to Consumer Watchdog, a consumer rights group, the new bill poses certain privacy issues that deal with personal information of passengers collected by self-driving cars. Exactly what data is gathered and how it may be used in the future is not controlled by the passenger. To enforce that only certain information is gathered to operate the vehicle and not be used by third-parties unless there is opt-in consent, an amendment to the bill may be necessary to protect the privacy rights of passengers.

Now that autonomous cars have complete driving control, does liability shift to the car’s automaker, technology maker, or physical driver? Determining the at-fault party may be trickier to pinpoint. The DMV will have to tackle many of these complex questions regarding liability, insurance, and licensing as they begin drafting regulations for autonomous vehicles.

New Personal Injury Law

Although there is still a lot of work to be done, we admire Google’s innovation and leadership in pushing autonomous car technology in hopes of decreasing auto accidents. If you or someone you know was involved in an autonomous vehicle accident, make sure to call a San Diego personal injury attorney to discuss your rights in this changing area of law.

Ross Jurewitz

Ross Jurewitz is the founder and managing lawyer of the Jurewitz Law Group, a San Diego personal injury attorney law firm. These San Diego injury accident lawyers specialize in helping people seriously injured in a variety of accidents throughout San Diego County and California.

Connect with Ross Jurewitz on

Related Articles:

  • $19,150,000

    A mother and her adult daughter were killed by an inexperienced truck driver.

  • $1,014,299

    Award for 38-year-old motorcyclist struck by SUV driver at intersection.

  • $550,000

    Pedestrian struck by commercial vehicle resulting in wrongful death.

See All Case Results

Our No Fee Guarantee®

We promise that our clients will not owe a penny if our team fails to obtain any compensation on their behalf.

Learn More

Request Your Free Case Review

Let us fight on your behalf. Contact the Jurewitz Law Group to discuss the details of your case. All form submissions are confidentially reviewed by our excellent support staff and are answered within 24 hours.

Contact Us

Jurewitz Law Group
Downtown San Diego
600 B Street, Suite 1550
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 233-5020
Toll Free: (888) 233-5020

North County San Diego
2244 Faraday Ave. #101
Carlsbad, CA 92008
Phone: (760) 585-4640
Toll Free: (888) 233-5020

Copyright © 2019 Jurewitz Law Group, All Rights Reserved, Reproduced with Permission. Serving communities throughout Southern California.

San Diego Personal Injury Attorney Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results set forth herein are based upon the facts of that particular case and do not represent a promise or guarantee. Please contact a lawyer for a consultation on your particular legal matter. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the state of California.

Website Design, SEO and Legal Internet Marketing by: SLS Consulting | Scholarship