SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — On March 8, Chairman of the California Senate Insurance Committee Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) convened a hearing on the development of Autonomous Vehicles and the implications for the auto insurance industry. While no legislative proposals were presented, the informational hearing will be a factor in the policy discussions going forward.
In 2015, there were 6.3 million automobile crashes on U.S. roads, injuring 2.4 million people, and killing 35,092. Driver deaths rose another 6 percent in 2016, topping 40,000 for the first time since 2007. Driver behavior is the primary culprit for the rising fatalities and crashes overall, including texting while driving and drunken driving. Highly autonomous vehicles (HAV), vehicles with no steering wheel, brakes or driver, are predicted to eventually reduce the number and overall cost of crashes, and the cost of automobile insurance premiums.
“California is the pioneer of public policy when it comes to automobile and trucking rules. We need to be ready to innovate how insurance rules are written so they are adaptable to new technologies,” Senator Mendoza said.
Although the design and safety features of HAVs are likely to be determined at the federal level, federal guidance has explicitly stated that insurance rules will remain in the jurisdiction of state legislatures. It will be up to each state to ensure that the process of determining who bears responsibility for damages as a result of a crash remains relatively seamless.
“It is important that we prepare for the future so that we protect every Californian and set the standard for the rest of the Nation,” Senator Mendoza concluded.
Senator Tony Mendoza, a Los Angeles native and former elementary school teacher in East Los Angeles, represents the 32nd Senate District encompassing portions of Los Angeles and Orange Counties.
Senator Tony Mendoza, a Los Angeles native and former elementary school teacher in East Los Angeles, represents the 32nd Senate District encompassing portions of Los Angeles and Orange Counties. For more information about Senator Mendoza visit his website http://sd32.senate.ca.gov/node/4