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Michigan Passes First-of-Its-Kind Self-Driving Car Legislation

December 20, 2016

Self-Driving Car Legislation is First of Its Kind in the Nation

Earlier this month the State of Michigan – once a trailblazer in the development and production of the automobile – became the first state in the nation to pass legislation that allowed automated cars to be tested, sold, and utilized for ride-sharing operations. The law is more expansive than even California's autonomous vehicle legislation which, if passed, would allow autonomous cars to operate within the state so long as a human driver is present in the car and able to take control of the car in the event of an emergency. The law (which was signed by Governor Rick Snyder on December 9, 2016) represents the efforts and input of legislators as well as auto manufacturers like Ford and Toyota as well as ride-sharing businesses like Uber and Lyft.

The law is specific to Michigan, meaning that it will in no way authorize autonomous vehicles to operate on Georgia roadways ... yet. However, according to Newsmax, Ford Motor Company believes it will be able to field a fully autonomous and driverless car by 2021. As this technology moves ever closer to being a reality, however, there will be increasing pressure on Georgia's legislature (as well as other states' legislatures) to pass laws similar to Michigan's law. In other words, it will only be a matter of time before manufacturers and transportation companies will be able to lawfully sell driverless cars within the state and utilize these vehicles as taxis and ridesharing vehicles.

Potential Problems with the Law

Some familiar with Michigan's law recognize the need for the passage of federal legislation rather than allowing each state to pass its own rules and regulations. Otherwise, an autonomous vehicle may be considered legal to operate in Michigan but violate the laws in Ohio or Pennsylvania (or another neighboring state). Not only could this lead to confusion amongst owners and operators of autonomous vehicles, but this "patchwork" of laws could stifle the continuing rollout of autonomous vehicles in other states.

What is more, while the law is favorable toward those involved in developing, manufacturing, selling, and utilizing autonomous cars, the law would leave those injured in a crash caused by a malfunctioning autonomous vehicle in a potentially difficult situation. More specifically, injury victims will need to determine what part or parts of the car malfunctioned and who bears the blame for the malfunction before they would be able to file a personal injury claim. Needless to say, this could require injury victims to expend additional time and resources investigating the cause(s) of their crash before proceeding with their claims. 

Put Montlick & Associates' Over 39 Years of Legal Experience to Work For You!

The Georgia car crash law firm of Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, remains committed to helping victims injured in car crashes assert their legal rights against individuals and/or entities who may be responsible for causing the crash. Our experienced legal team remains abreast of changes in traffic laws and automobile technology so that we are as prepared as possible to address the ever-changing situations and circumstances in which our clients find themselves injured.

Our firm has over 39 years of experience in representing car accident victims across Georgia and in the Southeast. Contact us to schedule your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.


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Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.

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