Are Self-Driving Cars Legal In Texas?

Posted on by Defensive Driving | in Defensive Driving Tips

It’s been 6 years since the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 2205, paving the way for the testing and deployment of self-driving vehicles on Texas roads. Since then, there’s been huge advancements to self-driving, assisted steering, and adaptive cruise control. It’s not just Tesla – virtually every car manufacturer has rolled out some form of driving assist features.

Our courses explain that the vast majority of car accidents are caused by human error, such as distracted driving or driving under the influence. Autonomous vehicles don’t have to worry about the same limitations and can operate with greater precision and attention to detail than human drivers.

cars communicating with eachother

Self-driving cars also have distinct benefits that people can’t compete with. Machine learning allows the technology to get better at time. The same way you learn from your mistakes, a computer has the ability to learn from everyone’s mistakes. The vehicles can communicate with each other and with infrastructure, such as traffic signals and road signs, to navigate our roads more efficiently and safely. Putting it into perspective, a human-driven car only has a single big button in the middle of the wheel to get people’s attention, and blinkers to signal lane changes. Self-driving vehicles can provide real-time information to other cars.

It’s important to note that the transition to self-driving cars is ongoing and likely will be a slow process for decades to come. When talking about self-driving cars, our minds jump to a future where it’s entirely automated and you’re not even able to drive yourself. The likely reality is much more boring. Self-driving features will continue to be added in the form of safety features. If the vehicle detects you’re about to rear-end someone, it may automatically begin engaging the brakes and vibrate the steering wheel. When you try to change lanes with a car in your blind-spot the car may beep at you. This is all still a relatively new technology and will require continued testing, development, and regulation to ensure their safe integration onto our roads.

Texas is enormous and diverse. Different drivers have different needs. Take for instance a family that lives on a farm or ranch in a rural area. They are unlikely to find as much benefit in self-driving cars as someone who lives in downtown Austin or Dallas. Even so, self-driving cars are being designed to co-exist with human drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. Change never happens overnight. Technology is a rising tide that lifts all ships though. You’re read this on a phone or computer that has the entire internet at your fingertips.


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