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CA Department of Insurance

Insurance issues for self-driving cars addressed at public hearing

News: 2014 Press Release

For Release: September 15, 2014
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Insurance issues for self-driving cars addressed at public hearing

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today is holding a public hearing at the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose to obtain public input regarding liability and insurance issues associated with self-driving cars.

"California is a leader in new technologies and business models. One such innovation - self-driving cars - holds the potential to dramatically change the world of transportation and potentially reduce accidents, injuries and deaths." said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "While fully autonomous cars are not yet available, a number of self-driving features, such as self-parking cars and active collision avoidance systems are already in use. Based on the rapid advance of technology, it's entirely possible that fully autonomous cars will be available in a few years' time. We need to consider and be ready to answer questions around who will be responsible and what insurance will be available to mitigate losses that might occur in the operation of this new technology, so that the technology can achieve its potential while protecting consumers."

The Commissioner will hear from a number of companies that are developing self-driving cars and from representatives of insurance companies and other state agencies with whom the Department of Insurance is working with to make sure that public policy is in place to address this new technology.

Commissioner Jones recently toured a self-driving car research and development facility, met with engineers and designers, and rode in a self-driving car. "Riding in a car equipped with self-driving technology was a fascinating experience. The car safely moved through all sorts of complicated interactions with other cars, bike riders, and pedestrians, all the while driving on city streets," said Jones. "The self-driving car technology holds great promise and it is exciting to see self-driving car research, design and manufacturing occurring in California - demonstrating once again that California is an innovator."

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Media Notes:

  • 10:30 a.m. at the Tech Museum of Innovation-New Venture Hall, 201 South Market St, San Jose.
  • Streaming video of the hearing is available at
  • Tesla aims to produce self-driving cars by 2016 that will give a computer 90 percent control of the car.
  • General Motors announced plans for a Cadillac that will have self-driving features with advance cruise control that offer hand and foot free driving in 2017 models.
  • Nissan Motor Co. and Renault anticipate that by 2018 their cars will have the ability to autonomously avoid hazards and change lanes.

The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $310 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance website at Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.4357. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

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