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Gov. McAuliffe Seeks Boom in Automated Cars In Virginia

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Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

Gov. McAuliffe Seeks Boom in Automated Cars In Virginia

The notion of automated cars in Virginia is a new one but it may be in going into the fast lane – at least that’s if Governor Terry McAuliffe gets his way.

The Governor this week pledged to spend his last nine months in office attempting to make Virginia “the capital of automated vehicles.”

The announcement came out of the blue. Virginia has a long way to go to catch up with California in the development of driverless cars. McAuliffe has touted the comparative lack of regulation.

The Washington Post reported on how Virginia is hoping its lack of rulemaking will give it an advantage. In contrast, California is pushing the most comprehensive rules on self-driving cars in the nation.

Governor presses for automated cars in Virginia

An automated car in California (Grendeckhan)

Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne said:

“We have no rules that prohibit autonomous vehicles, no law. A lot of states do. That’s intentional that we’re doing that.”

McAuliffe said as well as driverless cars, Virginia should develop drones in the air and on the water, pledging to own the land, water, and the sky.

Although automated cars in Virginia may provide an economic boost, it’s not the only state seeking to take advantage of new technology.

Michigan, with its long-established automobile industry, is seeking a bigger role as well as Pennsylvania.  Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania is at the forefront of research into driverless vehicles.

Other states wanting in on the technology include Massachusetts, Texas, and Arizona.

Potential Downsides of Automated Cars in Virginia

As a Virginia personal injury lawyer, I have considerable reservations about automated cars. It’s not reassuring that Virginia is touting its lack of regulation.

Automated cars in Virginia raise a lot of questions such as who is liable if things go wrong and the technology fails causing deaths or injuries. It’s sensible for California to be developing regulations and safeguards to govern the world of automated cars.

I have written in the past about how we might sue big companies like Google in future for malfunctions in cars instead of the other driver’s insurance company. I remain skeptical that Americans will allow the loss of control associated with driverless cars.

Although we would welcome the economic boost of automated cars in Virginia, this needs to be tempered with safeguards for drivers and passengers.

This is a fast-moving but highly complicated area. If you have sustained an injury in a car crash in Virginia, please call our auto accident team at (757) 455-0077.

John Cooper

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John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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