Last month, California lawmakers decided to put limits on how self-driving car manufacturers can market their vehicles. The state Senate passed this new bill, SB-1398, at the end of August. A few weeks later, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill into law. Carmakers like BMW, GM, and most notoriously, Tesla, will now need to disclose the limits of their self-driving technology.
Currently, there are no cars available to the public that can fully drive themselves. The technology is still very new, and manufacturers are testing its limits and capabilities. However, many cars have driver assistance to a degree. Many cars can help drivers brake faster, avoid drifting out of lanes, and escape collisions. Though the time when we can sleep at the wheel is not yet upon us, it’s not that far off in the future.
Tesla’s Self-Driving Car Technology Likely Caused the New Law
While the new law does not officially target a specific car manufacturer, many believe the law specifically targets Tesla. This is because the California DMV recently accused Tesla of false advertising over its self-driving car feature. Tesla calls this feature “Full Self-Driving,” although the company acknowledges that this technology still requires full driver attention.
Under the new law, Tesla will need to not only disclose the limitations of its software, but it will also have to rename it, at least in California. The bill has a deceptive marketing clause, which the state claims Tesla violates with the name of its software. Again, Tesla already tells consumers that its technology doesn’t mean they can fall asleep at the wheel. However, California lawmakers feel as though Tesla isn’t doing enough to make that clear.
Self-driving cars are not all that far off in the future, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t still pay to be a safe driver. Being safe on the road will lower your insurance premiums, prevent accidents, and help keep your car in mint condition. So, make sure you follow our safe driving tips to keep California’s roads safe for all!