A group representing trial lawyers is delaying the passage of a self-driving car bill in the US Senate, objecting to a lack of protections that would ensure the right to sue if someone is hurt or killed in a self-driving car.
The Detroit News reports that supporters of the measure championed by US Senator Gary Peters are considering attaching it to a must-pass bill that provides funding for the Federal Aviation Administration in a bid to get it to the president’s desk.
It adds that the Washington, DC-based American Association for Justice, which lobbies for trial lawyers who typically represent plaintiffs, says the Senate self-driving bill should be amended to include language which ensures victims are not forced into arbitration.
“Since many of the companies expected to make and operate driverless cars already force nearly all claims into secret, binding arbitration, preserving the right to seek public accountability in cases involving a person’s death and injury is critically important to public safety,” the group is quoted as saying. “Without these changes, the bill is simply insufficient.”
The Detroit News reports that the argument appears to be holding sway with some senators with at least five publicly expressing concerns about the measure, pointing to recent crashes involving Uber and Tesla vehicles that were operating autonomously or semi-autonomously.