Autonomous Technology Bill Passes US House

The reality of autonomous vehicles became a little more real last week when the US House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation that will make it significantly easier for automakers to get self driving technology on the road. As Reuters reported, The Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research in Vehicle Evolution Act, also known as the SELF DRIVE Act, was passed by a two-thirds majority on Wednesday, September 6, 2017. The bill was passed with bipartisan support, and is actually one of the most agreed upon pieces of legislation in Congress. The bill now goes to the Senate, where lawmakers have been working on a similar piece of legislation. It is the first significant piece of legislation of its kind.

Michigan Autonomous Car Laws

The bill speeds up the deployment of self driving cars onto the streets by reducing regulations for automakers. Essentially, it provides exemptions for standards “normal” cars would have to meet before seeing the streets. According to Wired, if the bill becomes law, federal guidelines will determine what standards autonomous vehicles have to meet, and individual states will have very little power to block self driving cars from hitting the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will be the organization to regulate vehicle design, construction, and performance. Manufacturers will then need to prove that self driving cars are as safe as existing vehicles. States can still set regulations regarding licensing, registration, and insurance, but they will have very little (if any) say as to what goes inside of the car. The legislation will allow for 25,000 autonomous vehicles to hit the road in the first year, which automakers hope will be 2020. This cap will increase drastically, allowing for 100,000 autonomous vehicles to be on the streets by the third year.

The tech industry, which is normally opposed to government regulation, is actually very welcoming of this bill. Up until this point, there were no federal guidelines regarding autonomous technology. This is due in part to the fact that there really aren’t that many autonomous vehicles in existence, so nobody is quite sure how to regulate them. As a result, states were left to set their own standards. This became a source of confusion as different states had different definitions, priorities, and purposes regarding self driving vehicles, making for a wide variety of guidelines throughout the country. As automakers would like their vehicles to be driven in all states, regulations that change across state lines would make this difficult. Additionally, companies based in California claimed their state had some of the most restrictive guidelines, making it difficult for them to test their technology.

Michigan Autonomous Car Lawyer

As such, automakers, as well as business groups, and advocates for the blind have been heavily pushing for legislation such as this. Companies such as Volkswagen even began taking self driving cars to Washington D.C., having lawmakers test them out in the hope that it could help persuade them. These groups claim that self driving cars will make roads safer by reducing the amount of accidents caused by human error. Consumer advocate groups, on the other hand, have pushed back on the legislation, as they fear it is too lenient, doesn’t do enough to protect drivers, and will actually make roads more dangerous.

This legislation will be hitting a little closer to home, as U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao will be in Ann Arbor, Michigan to unveil new self driving guidelines on September 19th. As The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog previously discussed, Ann Arbor is a hub of autonomous vehicle technology, as it is home to the self driving playground known as MCity.

Having autonomous technology legislation unanimously passing the house is an exciting step forward for autonomous vehicles. Making it easier for car manufacturers to get self driving cars on the roads means they are one step closer to being a part of everyday life. However, as self driving cars become a reality, so do the new safety challenges they present. As a result, manufacturers, and lawmakers will be responsible for balancing driving innovation with driver safety. After all, autonomous or human controlled, no one wants to be involved in a car crash.


Car accidents happen everyday, and although self driving vehicles looming on the horizon, motor vehicle accidents are still possible in the present day. If you have been injured in a car accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 

Samsung's Latest Phone Is Literally Blowing Up

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7, praised for its bigger battery which could power the phone for an impressive nine hours, was supposed to be the next great phone for Samsung. According to The Washington Post, the company advertised that the phone was "designed to be a key that opens the door to new experiences on the go." Since its August 19, 2016 release, the Note 7 has indeed become known for all of the above, though not in the way Samsung had hoped.

On Thursday, September 15, 2016, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall of the new Samsung phones, saying that defective Note 7 batteries had been linked to "26 reports of burns and 55 reports of property damage, including fires in cars and a garage." The recall followed numerous reports, including one where police officers responded to a report of a car on fire in a residential neighborhood in a southern Florida beach town. Officers found a vehicle "fully engulfed in flames." The driver, who was unharmed, told police he had been charging his Samsung 7 phone when it burst into flames.

Galaxy Note 7 Phone Fire Lawyer

The first lawsuit related to the phone was believed to be made by a Florida man, who filed a claim against Samsung on September 9, 2016, alleging that his Galaxy Note 7 exploded and caused him severe burns on his right thigh and left thumb, Reuters reported. In the lawsuit, Jonathan Strobel claimed that his Note 7 exploded in his front pants pocket while he was at a Costco on September 9th. The explosion was intense enough to burn through his pants and also severely burn his left thumb when he reached in to try to remove the phone. "He has a deep second-degree burn, roughly the size of the phone, on his right thigh," Strobel's attorney, Keith Pierro, told Reuters.

Similar reports have continued to plague Samsung, since they first issued a voluntary recall of its Galaxy Note 7 phones because of a "battery issue" on September 2nd and offered to give replacement phones to customers who had bought the devices. The lithium-ion batteries in the phones could overheat and pose a safety risk, the company said after it had received a few dozen reports of Note 7 batteries catching on fire. "To date (as of September 1) there have been 35 cases that have been reported globally and we are currently conducting a thorough inspection with our suppliers to identify possible affected batteries in the market," the company said in a statement. "However, because our customers’ safety is an absolute priority at Samsung, we have stopped sales of the Galaxy Note7."

Detroit Phone Burn Victim Lawyer

According to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), in September, Samsung recalled around 2.5 million phones after complaints of exploding batteries. After having a replacement program in place to replace the recalled Note 7's, Samsung insisted that all replaced devices were safe. However, that was followed by reports that those phones were catching fire too. A Kentucky man said he woke up to a bedroom full of smoke from a replaced Note 7, days after a domestic flight in the US was evacuated after a new device started emitting smoke in the cabin.

Now, Samsung has permanently stopped production of the Galaxy Note 7. They had already reduced the Note 7 production volumes, but now, they have made the decision to completely stop producing the Note 7. Owners are expected to be able to return the phones for a refund or an exchange for a different Samsung phone. "We recently readjusted the production volume for thorough investigation and quality control, but putting consumer safety as top priority, we have reached a final decision to halt production of Galaxy Note 7s," the company said.
"For the benefit of consumers' safety, we stopped sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note 7 and have consequently decided to stop production."

Consumer Tech Analyst Caroline Milanesi of Creative Strategies told the BBC that Samsung should "call it a day" on production of the Galaxy Note 7 to limit long-term risk to the brand.
However, South Korea's finance minister had warned that the country's exports would be hurt if the phone model was scrapped. In the end, Samsung decided that the safety of it's customers is what is most important.


Phones which set themselves on fire has the potential to cause several accidents. Whether a phone charging in a car causes the car to explore or a pedestrian with a smoking pocket walks into oncoming traffic, it appears that the Samsung Note 7 is a dangerous device. If you or anyone you know has been injured in a car accident due to the faulty manufacturing of a product such as the Samsung Note 7, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC today. Our attorneys are highly experienced in dealing with all types of personal injury cases and will fight to get you the help you need. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free consultation.