PERSONAL INJURY LAW-AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENTS
INSURANCE RULES FOR DRIVERLESS CARS CONSIDERED IN NJ
NJ Lawmakers have introduced bills that would require owners of driverless cars to maintain liability coverage
If the legislation does become law, New Jersey could become the third state in the nation, after Nevada and Florida, to require that owners of autonomous vehicles maintain liability insurance coverage. At present, liability coverage attaches to the driver of a car, and it remains an open question as to who would be held liable in the event that an autonomous car causes an accident.
New Jersey currently requires a minimum of $15,000 coverage per person and $30,000 per accident. The New Jersey Assembly bill, A4504, is sponsored by Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, D-Camden, and Assemblyman Arthur Barclay, D-Camden. The Senate bill, S2895, is sponsored by Sen. Nia Gill, D-Essex.
"It [the general use of autonomous vehicles] will happen eventually, but there are a lot of questions that have to be answered," Lampitt said. The central question, she said, is whether someone who is riding in an autonomous vehicle, who may own the vehicle but is not at the controls, should be held responsible in the event of an accident. Currently, she said, it appears that the manufacturer of the vehicle would be held liable, but the legal landscape is uncertain.
"We're looking to make sure that insurance is available if no one is behind the wheel," Lampitt said.
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