The transition from cars with drivers to driverless cars is upon us, and it will be potentially as disruptive as horse and buggies to cars. As this switch-over occurs, lawyers and lawmakers will face issues of compliance, liability, and information governance, among others. In this On the Road report from the ABA Annual Meeting 2016, Joe Patrice interviews Bryant Walker Smith, Laura Ruettgers, and Stephen Wu about their conference presentation on driverless cars. Together, they discuss the compliance issues that arise from different levels of vehicle automation, who is liable for an accident, how the insurance carriers will adapt to the changes, and the moral questions that arise on a programming level. The presenters close by discussing how taxi and trucker employment will change and driverless cars as a supplement to public transportation.
Bryant Walker Smith is an assistant professor of law and (by courtesy) engineering at the University of South Carolina School of Law. His research focuses on risk (particularly tort law and product liability), technology (automation and connectivity), and mobility (safety and regulation).
Laura Ruettgers is with the law firm of Severson & Werson where she specializes in providing coverage and policy drafting advice for environmental and toxic tort claims and policies. Laura also has extensive experience addressing issues arising under commercial general and excess liability, professional liability, and directors and officers liability policies.
Stephen Wu is of counsel with Silicon Valley Law Group. He advises clients on information governance matters, focusing on information security, privacy, mobile computing, ediscovery preparedness, records management, and computer-related investigations.