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Driverless cars: legal in some states, not in others

Posted by Kevin Hartnett June 16, 2014 02:03 PM

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Driverless cars are coming, though they're on course to arrive in some states sooner than others. The used car website Mojo Motors recently created an infographic that shows the status of driverless car legislation in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. California, Nevada, Florida, Michigan, and D.C., have all passed laws explicitly authorizing companies to test driverless cars on private and public roads within their borders (in large part to try and attract driverless technology companies). 28 states have taken no legislative action at all, two states have said "no" to driverless cars (Wisconsin and New Hampshire) and the rest, which includes Massachusetts, are in the process of drafting laws (the Division of Highway Safety has until May 15, 2015 to send the legislature its recommendations). Even if Massachusetts does pass a law soon, it will only be a first, tiny step in an undoubtedly long regulatory road. In the meantime, we may find find ourselves in the patchwork situation we're in today with cellular phones: just like you have to go "hands free" when you cross from some states into others, you may need to perk up and take over the wheel from your robot when driving up I-93 into New Hampshire.

mojo-motors-the-driverless-cars-mojo-infographic-legal.jpg

Image courtesy of Mojo Motors.

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
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Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.

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