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Driverless vehicles make inroads in California

Inch by inch, block by block and mile by mile, driverless vehicles are making their way onto California roads. A few days ago, and a few hundred miles north of Santa Barbara, approval was given for the first self-driving bus to operate on our state's streets.

Contra Costa County approved use of a bus with no steering wheel, no brakes and no human driver. The driverless bus will begin picking up commuters in late April. The hope is that autonomous technology will one day reduce traffic congestion, fuel consumption, air pollution and motor vehicle crashes that cause injuries and fatalities.

The 12-seat bus will initially have an attendant on board as it makes its way around. The attendant will be able to push a button that will bring the vehicle to a stop in an emergency. He or she will not be able to steer, brake, or accelerate the bus, however.

"The California DMV has been working for years to bring this groundbreaking technology to California's roadways while ensuring safety of the motoring public," said Department of Motor Vehicles Director Jean Shiomoto.

Early this year, the DMV approved new regulations for self-driving vehicles. The new regulations allow companies to test their autonomous driving tech remotely and with members of the public. That phase of the driverless revolution begins on April 2.

No one yet knows how successful driverless technology will eventually be. Advocates are promising a lot and critics are saying the technology is being pushed too far, too fast.

No matter what the future brings, today we continue to grapple with safety issues involving increasing numbers of distracted and impaired drivers who pose threats to themselves, their passengers and other motorists and pedestrians.

If you have been injured by a reckless or negligent driver, you can pursue justice and compensation both with the assistance of a skilled attorney experienced in personal injury litigation.

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