Consumer Watchdog Urges DMV To Require Test Drivers In Google Cars

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SANTA MONICA ( — A Westside consumer advocacy group wants the DMV to hit the brakes on putting driverless cars on California roads.

KNX 1070′s Megan Goldsby reports Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog sent a letter to officials alleging the Google prototypes need at least an extra year of testing or they could pose a deadly risk to drivers.

As many as 100 prototypes of the two-seat Google “self-driving” cars – which have no steering wheel – could take to the streets by May of next year, the Associated Press reported last month.

The cars would not be sold publicly and would only reach a top speed of 25 mph, according to the Associated Press.

But in a letter dated June 10 (PDF) addressed to DMV Director Jean Shiomoto, Consumer Watchdog’s John Simpson urged the agency to uphold a key safety provision: a requirement for a test driver in the driver’s seat who is capable of assuming control of the car if there is a problem.

“If you get a vehicle out there that isn’t quite ready for prime time, I think people get killed,” Simpsons said. “At some point, this is a technology that will be in use and adopted and will be done official, but there’s no sense in rushing into it.”

Under California law, the DMV is required to establish regulations for the vehicles by Jan. 1, 2015.

In response to the letter, DMV officials said they are following state law to ensure drivers’ safety and will be collecting suggestions from the public before allowing Google’s driverless cars on the road.

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