California DMV Will Post Autonomous Vehicle Accident Reports On Its Website; Move Comes After Suggestion From Consumer Watchdog, But More Action Needed

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SANTA MONICA, CA – The California Department of Motor Vehicles today said it will now post all autonomous vehicle accident reports on its website.  The move comes after Consumer Watchdog recently suggested to the DMV that it make the required reports easily available online.

“Our highways are being used as corporate laboratories for robot car makers,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director. “It’s essential that the public have readily available as many details as possible about what happened when something goes wrong.”

While welcoming the added transparency and praising DMV’s latest action, Simpson said further steps are necessary. Consumer Watchdog has petitioned the DMV for a rulemaking process that would amend robot car testing regulations to require police to investigate crashes and to require copies of any video or technical data gathered by the robot vehicle related to the crash be provided to the department.

“Under the current regulations, the Department relies completely on the testing company’s account of what happened.  With the public’s safety at stake, it’s imperative that a neutral third party investigates any accident involving a robot car,” wrote Simpson, in the petition to the DMV.

Read Consumer Watchdog’s Sept. 24 petition here:

Under the testing regulations, manufacturers must provide the DMV with a report of the crash within 10 business days of the incident. The DMV has now posted all nine crash reports it has received since companies were required to file them last September. Eight of the crashes involved Google cars. One involved a Delphi vehicle. Google was involved in eight additional crashes before reporting was required for a total of 16 accidents since it began testing robot cars. The DMV said it will issue a news alert when a new crash report is posted.

The official accident reports can be found on the DMV’s website here:

Currently there are ten companies approved by the DMV to test robot cars on California’s highways. They are: Volkswagen Group of America, Mercedes Benz, Google, Delphi Automotive, Tesla Motors, Bosch, Nissan, Cruise Automation, BMW and Honda.

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John M. Simpson
John M. Simpson
John M. Simpson is an American consumer rights advocate and former journalist. Since 2005, he has worked for Consumer Watchdog, a nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group, as the lead researcher on Inside Google, the group's effort to educate the public about Google's dominance over the internet and the need for greater online privacy.

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