Who gets a ticket for traffic violation done by a Google self-driving car?
Autonomous self-driving vehicles are being looked by many people and car companies as the future of safe transport. But a recent incident showed that even autonomous vehicles aren’t immune from traffic stops.
It was revealed last Thursday that one of Google’s self-driving car was pulled over in the company’s hometown of Mountain View, California because apparently it was driving too slowly.
According to the Mountain View Police Department (MVPD), they observed traffic backing up behind the peculiar-looking prototype vehicle, which was traveling at 24 mph in a 35 mph zone, about two miles from Google’s headquarters. The police also said that the Google car in the photo was self-driving legally on the street which was identified as El Camino Real – a 35 mph zone.
“As the officer approached the slow moving car he realized it was a Google Autonomous Vehicle,” the MVPD said in a statement. “The officer stopped the car and made contact with the operators to learn more about how the car was choosing speeds along certain roadways and to educate the operators about impeding traffic per 22400(a) of the California Vehicle Code.
The MVPD also issued a statement saying that they regularly meet with Google to make sure the vehicles in the Self-Driving Car Project operate within safety limits of the communities they are tested in.
Google representative wrote on the Google Self-Driving Car Project site of the traffic stop, with a caption that begins: “Driving too slowly? Bet humans don’t get pulled over for that too often. We’ve capped the speed of our prototype vehicles at 25 mph [40 kmh] for safety reasons. We want them to feel friendly and approachable, rather than zooming scarily through neighbourhood streets.”
It was previously reported that the driverless cars were also being programmed to be safer around children.
According to Google, it may have been this purposefully slow speed – in addition to the vehicle’s unusual appearance – that captured the policeman’s attention in this instance, as opposed to anything illegal or dangerous taking place.
“Like this officer, people sometimes flag us down when they want to know more about our project,” says Google. “After 1.2 million miles [more than 1.9 million km] of autonomous driving (that’s the human equivalent of 90 years of driving experience), we’re proud to say we’ve never been ticketed!”
Perhaps, the self-driving cars haven’t been ticketed yet, as California is still working on laws for a situation in which there is no driver. At present, the law states that the ticket should go to the person in the driver’s seat. However, it is still not very clear if that driver’s seat is empty.
Nonetheless, Google reassured the public, as well as the law enforcement officials, that their self-driving cars are safe and if any of them shoud happen to break any local laws, they will foot the bill.