Laws & Concerns Keep Self-Driving Cars Out of New York City

Laws & Concerns Keep Self-Driving Cars Out of New York City

Those looking forward to the possible introduction of self-driving cars in New York City may be waiting much longer than initially believed. Tech companies looking to test self-driving cars in The Big Apple have encountered considerable roadblocks preventing their plans from being realized, thanks to red tape and antiquated legislation.

Old Driving Laws Hold NYC Back

During a New York City Council meeting in October 2016, experts pointed towards a 1971 law requiring drivers to keep one hand on the steering wheel at all times while the vehicle is in motion as one of the more notable obstacles holding back self-driving technologies. Representatives from Uber pointed out that Pittsburgh has worked with the company on a trial run of automated Ford Fusions – a model New York could follow.

“NYC will miss [a] chance to lead on autonomous cars if our laws do not even allow us to test them on city streets in a safe and controlled way,” Councilman Dan Gardonick tweeted while attending the hearing. Opposition to the initiative is equally strong, with New York City Department of Transportation Deputy Commissioner Michael Replogle citing that due to New York having the “most complex street system in North America,” regulation of autonomous vehicles is vital to preventing gridlock traffic.

Likewise, due to the city’s scarce parking, some officials are concerned about possible “ghost vehicles” in which owners will simply let their vehicles endlessly roam around the city to avoid parking. In addition to increased traffic congestion, officials are concerned about a decrease in revenue for the city from parking tickets. According to CNET, New York City collected roughly $565 million in parking ticket fines in 2015 alone.

Concern for the Taxi Industry

Taxi companies have also expressed concern about how the introduction of autonomous cars could affect their livelihoods. As of 2015, there were more than 13,600 taxi cabs operating in New York City. Given the fact that the taxi industry has already taken a massive hit from the introduction of rideshare technologies such as Uber and Lyft, self-driving cars could potentially spell doom for the industry as a whole and make taxis obsolete.

Even with these roadblocks, however, New York is not isolated to this problem. The United States as a whole lacked a cohesive plan for the introduction of self-driving cars nationwide up until this year, with the states still playing a massive role in determining the details of these regulatory matters.

At Gannes & Musico LLP, our NYC traffic ticket attorneys are closely following this story and the legal implications that it could bring. For more information about this topic or to find out how our team of professionals can help you contest your traffic ticket, call (877) 803-2603 or contact us online today.