California regulators nix rules limiting carmaker liability

FILE - In this Tuesday, June 13, 2017, file photo, a self-driving Chevrolet Bolt EV that is in General Motors Co.'s autonomous vehicle development program appears on display at GM's Orion Assembly in Lake Orion, Mich. California regulators have nixed a plan to let self-driving car manufacturers evade liability for crashes if the vehicle hasn’t been maintained according to manufacturer specifications. (Jose Juarez/Detroit News via AP, File)

Jose Juarez

California regulators have nixed a plan to let self-driving car manufacturers evade liability for crashes if the vehicle hasn't been maintained according to manufacturer specifications.

The new rules released this week delete a provision suggested by General Motors. California Department of Motor Vehicles spokeswoman Jessica Gonzalez said the change came after a review of comments on the plan.

John Simpson of the nonprofit advocacy group Consumer Watchdog called the change a "major victory for consumers."

The rules could have absolved car makers of accident responsibility if a car owner hadn't cleaned his sensors appropriately, said Simpson, the group's privacy and technology director.

GM spokeswoman Laura Toole said the automaker appreciated the department's transparency and added that the company is "pleased be part of the process."

The department is taking comments on the latest changes until Dec. 15. The final regulations are expected to be enacted early next year.

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