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By Bryan Boccelli
This Note argues that states across the nation should expand upon and in some cases begin to introduce legislation in regards to self-driving vehicles. Although there are currently a handful of states that already have some form of regulation in effect regarding self-driving vehicles, the current patchwork of legislation is not very conducive for companies and entrepreneurs that wish to enter this market. This Note looks at a gradient system of automation as the basis for legislation that could potentially lead to greater investment from car manufactures in this area of technology. If adopted, a gradient system would mean that the automated vehicle would be subject to specific regulations based on a car’s level of automation. The more autonomous the car is, the more highly regulated it will become.… Read the rest
By: Steven Wittenberg
The proliferation of automated vehicles (sometimes called “self-driving cars” or “autonomous cars”) is poised to make American roads safer by reducing or even eliminating human error, which is the leading cause of collisions. In 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 40 percent of crashes occur because of “recognition error,” which includes “inadequate surveillance” and “internal distraction,” while 35 percent of crashes arise from “decision error,” which includes speeding and misjudgments. Automated vehicles can increase driver safety by removing driver error from the situation.
California, Nevada, Michigan, Florida, and D.C. are the only states which have pioneered legislation regulating automated vehicles on public roads. Virginia has dedicated 70 miles of a highway for public road testing. To provide some background, the California statute requires drivers of automated vehicles to obtain a special license. Additionally, the vehicles … Read the rest
By: Joe Zender
Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon proposed an amendment earlier this year to raise the federal ‘gas tax’ from 18 cents per gallon to 33 cents. While the proposal failed, this 82 percent increase is endemic of the exorbitant gas taxes and increases around the country, both at the federal and state levels. Even as gasoline consumption has leveled off in the U.S., national production of gasoline has increased drastically, leading to lower gas prices. Even so, legislatures have moved to increase the burden on each gallon consumed by the taxpayers. The gas tax is now to a point where it unduly burdens businesses, citizens, and even potentially the environment. It should be eliminated and replaced with a more efficient and effective system for funding infrastructure.
The retail cost of a gallon of gasoline across the U.S. on October 1, 2015 was $2.42. At the same … Read the rest
By: Keith St. Aubin
In large cities the world over, passengers have stopped reaching into the air to hail a cab and have begun reaching into their pockets for their smartphones. Companies such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar represent a cross-section of the transportation sector of a rapidly growing marketplace: the so-called “sharing economy.” The sharing economy delivers products, places, rides and various other perks to consumers through the use of modern technology. Dog owners can turn to DogVacay rather than finding a kennel for Fido. The elderly can now hire someone to clean their gutters using TaskRabbit instead of dealing with the snotty kid next-door. Loan seekers can avoid the bank by booting up their PC and heading over to Lending Club. The sharing economy exploded on the scene across various sectors seemingly overnight. Almost … Read the rest
By: Matthew Holm
“A ride whenever you need one,” boasts the corporate tagline of San Francisco-based company Lyft. Founded in 2012, Lyft is a relatively recent addition to the growing “ridesharing” industry. Its competitors such as UberX, Sidecar, Summon, and Wingz have altered the urban transportation market by allowing smartphone users to summon a car, track the driver’s arrival, and pay for a ride, all at the touch of a virtual button. The concept is genius and has gained widespread popularity in major cities in the United States and around the globe since Uber’s launch in 2009.
But these fledgling ride-for-hire companies continue to straddle regulatory fences and have required both controversial legislation and a stream of litigation to define the restrictions and mandates that will apply to the drivers and vehicles they employ. Uber has been … Read the rest
Those who have hailed a taxi or used public transportation can attest to the downsides of urban transportation including dirtiness, crowdedness, and unreliability. Since its founding in 2010, San Francisco-based startup Uber has aimed to appease the unsatisfied market of urban dwellers that desire easier, cleaner, more dependable transportation than has been available. Uber operates as “your on-demand personal driver” allowing users to hire and pay the nearest of the company’s “sleek black cars” (think Lincoln Towncar) as a chauffer through the users’ mobile phones. Unsurprisingly, Uber has clashed with regulators, cabbies, and others who claim that Uber is skirting existing regulations that protect customers. Cities including Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York City have proposed or threatened to propose regulations that would effectively run Uber out of their respective towns. In addition, cab drivers in several cities have filed class action suits alleging that the company is engaging … Read the rest
As any city grows and develops a strong central business district (CBD), congestion is going to become a matter of concern for those who both live and work in that area. While this pain has been universally felt amongst metropolitan areas, the handling of this problem has varied. Despite the recognition of the issue, as the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) has noted that congestion has nearly tripled in the last twenty five years, that same time period has seen an 239 percent increase in highway spending.  A recent English study estimated that a five percent reduction in travel time could generate five billion U.S. dollars in savings per year.  While no similar research has been commenced in the United States, American urban citizens lost 3.7 billion hours of time and wasted 2.3 billion gallons of fuel sitting in congested streets in 2003.  The … Read the rest