Oklahoma Bar Association

Home  |  Members  |  Resources  |  About

Oklahoma Bar Journal

Not So Hypothetical After All: Addressing the Remaining Unanswered Questions About Self-Driving Cars

By Spencer C. Pittman and Mbilike Mwafulirwa

The machines are here, but the law isn’t.1

Ed Walters, Fastcase CEO

The last time we wrote about self-driving cars, we presented a hypothetical in which one of those cars killed a person.2 At the time, industry experts imagined it would be at least 2020 before self-driving cars would flood the streets, and as a corollary, it would probably take that long, if not longer, until the worst possible scenarios came to pass.3

We were all wrong. Recently, a self-driving car killed a pedestrian in Arizona.4 Other than permitting self-driving cars to be tested on its public roads, Arizona, like Oklahoma, has no comprehensive legislation regulating these cars. With more of these cars being manufactured and permitted on American roads, the need for comprehensive legislation regulating self-driving cars and their operators could not be more pressing. Before, we discussed the need for civil legislation to address the advent of self-driving cars.5 Now, this article discusses the other side of the coin – the criminal and traffic law implications of self-driving cars in the state of Oklahoma.

Our state’s formidable arsenal of existing criminal and traffic laws have one glaring shortfall when it comes to self-driving cars – they are all enforced on the assumption that a human driver operated the vehicle. That is a problem because while the newest models of self-driving vehicles still rely on a human to initially engage the autonomous feature, they can subsequently operate without further human input. Once the autonomous feature is engaged, do the state and local traffic codes still apply to the driver? Can a driver be cited for reckless or inattentive driving, or driving under the influence, if the self-driving feature is engaged for the duration of a trip? We tackle these very difficult questions in this article.

How have self-driving car manufacturers addressed this legal loophole? They still require drivers of self-driving cars to remain attentive to the road despite a self-driving vehicle’s autonomous feature being fully engaged. Tesla, a forerunner of the self-driving vehicle community, announced a recent update to its system requiring drivers not to take their hands from the wheel for extended periods.6 Nissan’s “ProPilot” system, another self-driving concept, displays a warning on the dashboard when the driver removes his or her hands from the steering wheel.7 General Motors’ 2018 CT6 Cadillac sedan, a car that self-drives on limited highways for at least 350 miles, utilizes eye-tracking software to ensure the driver’s eyes remain on the roadway.8 The 2018 CT6 Cadillac marketing website notes in the boilerplate, “Some state and local laws may require hands to be kept on the steering wheel at all times. Only remove your hands from the steering wheel if ... permitted by state and local laws.”9

The self-driving car presents a regulatory enigma – in large measure because the current laws presume a human driver actually operating the vehicle. The law should address this new driverless challenge, but in order to properly do so, the law in this area should be considered as it was, and as it currently is, so as to better appreciate how it should be.

Automobile Regulation – As It Was

Throughout American history, the subject of new modes of road transportation has animated the public. As early as 1906, legal commentators of the day were ecstatic about a new form of conveyance – “the horseless carriage,” also known as the “automobile” – that had started roaming public streets and highways.10 Before the 20th century, there was apparently no single reported legal case in the United States dealing with motorcars.11 The proliferation of the motorcar had a spellbinding effect on the 20th century and its people, such that it was considered a matter beyond “prophesy” to predict where its growing influence might end.12

Even in the motorcar’s euphoric era, minimal regulation was ultimately necessary. For example, early vehicles tended to frighten horses, which often resulted in injury to the animal or the occupants of its carriage,13 and of course, there were eventually collisions between vehicles.14 At the time, judicial decisions required motorcars to accommodate horses and buggies, and as between cars, the governing law was referred to as the rule of the road, imported from England.15 The rule was simple: if two cars met on the road, each was required to keep to the right – the goal was simply to prevent collisions.16 Beyond that, it was every man for himself.

By about 1908, it was clear more needed to be done. There were more cars on American roads and with that development came increased vehicle collisions, personal injuries and traffic jams.17 Detroit and New York City led the way in adopting stop signs, traffic signals, lane markings, one-way streets, dedicated forces of traffic officers and traffic courts.18 By the mid-1920s, uniform street and highway safety rules were developed, and driver education and licensing soon followed in almost every state.19 This was the birth of the comprehensive traffic code and motor vehicle and driver regulation.20 Oklahoma joined these ranks in 1937, when it passed traffic laws, and simultaneously, established a Department of Public Safety.21

Automobile Regulation – As It Is Now

Through the years, the concern for motor vehicle safety has spawned thousands of sections of Oklahoma legislation and agency regulations.22 Nonetheless, out of the universe of contemporary motor vehicle laws and regulation, this article will only focus on four specific areas: 1) the regulatory basics of contemporary motor vehicles; 2) inattentive driving; 3) reckless driving; and 4) the relation of the self-driving car to existing law.

Regulatory basics of motor vehicle regulation in Oklahoma. Under existing Oklahoma law, a “vehicle” is defined as “any device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a” public roadway.23 A motor vehicle is, in turn, defined as “[a]ny vehicle which is self-propelled.”24 Oklahoma law does not define “self-propelled.”25 Nonetheless, like here, when a statute fails to give a specific meaning to its words, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals (OCCA) construes the language used in that provision in its ordinary everyday sense.26 Applying that rule to “self-propelled” would require the word “self” – which is employed in a combining form – to be taken to mean “by yourself or itself” 27 while propel means “to drive, or cause to move.”28 Altogether, that phrase suggests that motor vehicles are conveyances that self-drive29 without reliance on “human or animal power.”30

Oklahoma has very nebulous definitions for “driver” and “operator.” Under extant Oklahoma law, a driver is “any person who drives, operates or is in actual physical control of a vehicle.”31 Title 47 defines a “person” to include “every natural person” but also inanimate objects like corporations, associations and the like.32

As relevant to this discussion, however, an “operator” is “[e]very person,” without qualification, “who operates, drives or is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle ... ”33 The statute does not define “operate,” “drives” or “actual physical control.”34 Turning first to the everyday meaning of the word “drive;” within the specific context of cars, it means “to operate a vehicle.”35 To “operate,” on the other hand, means to “work, perform, or function, as a machine does” or “to work or use a machine, apparatus, or the like,” or simply to “produce an effect.”36 Taking cue from those meanings, some courts have found, for example, that to operate a motor vehicle usually does not require the vehicle be in motion. All that must be shown is that the driver engaged the machinery or made use of any mechanical or electrical device of the vehicle.37 Not so in Oklahoma. Under Title 47, “drive” and “operate” have been held to be synonymous – both require the vehicle to be in motion.38

Lastly, we look at the concept of actual physical control, which is critical to many of the offenses in Title 47. So often, the OCCA has encountered and construed the meaning of these terms under Title 47, in cases of driving under the influence.39 In Parker v. State, for example, the OCCA held that being in actual physical control while under the influence requires no motion.40 Case law has since clarified that actual control of a vehicle can exist when a driver is sleeping in the driver’s seat,41 even when he is unconscious behind the wheel.42 As the OCCA has explained, the mere fact that a driver “placed himself behind the wheel of the vehicle and could have at any time started the automobile and driven away” is enough to render him in actual physical control of a motor vehicle.43 Another formulation indicates that any act of “directing influence, domination or regulation” of a motor vehicle is sufficient actual physical control.44

Inattentive driving. Both state and municipal law occupy the field of inattentive driving. The state of Oklahoma, followed by several municipalities, requires motorists to devote their full attention to the road and to exercise care toward other road users.45 What exactly is inattentive driving? Oklahoma statutes do not precisely say.46 The statutes only expressly require “full attention,”47 which like many provisions in Title 47, is not defined.48 Drawing on everyday usage, as we should,49 the phrase “full attention” ordinarily means complete “concentration on what someone is doing or saying.”50 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), on the other hand, recognizes inattentive driving (seen more like distracted driving) to encompass:

  • Visual distraction: Tasks that require the driver to look away from the roadway to visually obtain information;
  • Manual distraction: Tasks that require the driver to take a hand or hands off the steering wheel and manipulate an object or device;
  • Cognitive distraction: Tasks that are defined as the mental workload associated with a task that involves thinking about something other than the driving task.51

In short, inattentive/distracted results in reduced driver situational awareness, decision-making and performance that can result in accidents or harm to other road users.52

Reckless driving. Under Title 47, reckless driving encompasses a “careless or wanton” operation of a motor vehicle “without regard for the safety of persons or property.”53 Careless or wanton under this statute is understood to mean culpable negligence.54 Culpable negligence, has in turn, been defined to mean more than the “slight negligence” applicable in civil cases.55 Instead, it is the kind of neglectful conduct that evidences “disregard of the consequences which may ensue from the act, and indifference to the rights of others.”56 The last prong of the test requires the defendant be shown to have conducted himself “without regard to the safety of persons or property,” which generally requires a determination whether, as judged by the standards of a reasonable prudent person in the same circumstances, the defendant created danger for the safety of people or property.57

Relation of the self-driving car to existing law. We begin by addressing the seemingly (but maybe not so) obvious – what do we mean by self-driving car? The NHTSA recognizes five levels of automation in motor vehicles: level 0 – no automation;58 level 1 – driver assistance (driver controls vehicle but has assist feature like blind spot detection);59 level 2 – partial automation (driver controls vehicle but car has automated functions like automatic emergency braking);60 level 3 – car can drive itself some, but driver must be ready to re-take control (like self-park);61 level 4 – car is able to fully drive itself under certain conditions (like highway autopilot);62 and level 5 – car is able to drive itself under all conditions.63 We will focus on level 3 through 5 cars – i.e., advanced automation.

Under Limited Circumstances, Existing Oklahoma Law Could Permit Self-Driving Cars

Oklahoma law requires a human operator in the driver’s seat of a motor vehicle for it to be lawfully driven or operated. Multiple provisions of Title 47 confirm that a human driver is required to be in the driver’s seat to lawfully drive a car in Oklahoma. To begin with, no motor vehicle can be operated in this state unless the person operating it has, among others, a valid driver’s license, wears a seat belt, is positioned to be able to use a horn, has an unobstructed view of the highway through the windshield and rearview glass, is positioned to ably see the reflection of the highway on the left side of the mirror on the driver’s side and able to perform hand traffic signals, as needed.64 Recall, a driver or an operator of a car under Title 47 is simply a “person,” without qualification, who “drives” or “operates” a motor vehicle.65 The Highway Code expressly limits the definition of person to natural people and a limited class of inanimate objects – corporations, firms, associations and co-ops.66 In fact, in case of doubt, application of the statutory construction maxim expression unius est exclusion alterius” – “the mention of one thing in a statute implies exclusion of another”67 – leads to the inescapable conclusion that other classes of inanimate objects, like self-driving car systems, are excluded from the definition of person.68 Crucially, Title 47’s reference to inanimate objects, corporations and the like, in no way negates the requirement that there must be a natural person driving or operating the vehicle on Oklahoma roads;69 after all, corporations (and the like) “‘separate and apart from’ the human beings who own, run, and are employed by them, cannot do anything at all.”70

In sum, the law requires a human driver or operator to be present in the vehicle in order to lawfully drive or operate a motor vehicle.

A motor vehicle with autonomous functions and a ready-driver/operator in the driver’s seat could be operated in OklahomaOklahoma law’s definition of motor vehicle encompasses a self-drive/self-propelled car – a car that moves without reliance on animal or human power.71 As noted, a motor vehicle requires a human operator, while a vehicle, like a trailer, does not.72

Depending on the level of control required under Oklahoma law to drive/operate a motor vehicle, cars with advanced automation features could be legal. To begin with, under Title 47, drive and operate are synonymous – they both require the driver/operator to cause a moving effect on the motor vehicle.73 As such, if a driver/operator of a vehicle with advanced autonomous functions were to activate those capabilities producing movement, he or she could be considered, as a matter of law, to be driving/operating the vehicle.74 Under those circumstances, to borrow Judge Cardozo’s wording, albeit from a different context, the driver/operator would be considered “still the director of the [driving] enterprise ... [and] still the master of the ship.”75

Under existing laws, the threat of DUI prosecutions could still linger over intoxicated drivers/operators of autonomous cars. With such a low-level of involvement required for a person to be considered driving/operating a vehicle under existing law, supra, it is possible the threat of a DUI prosecution might still hang over intoxicated drivers/operators of self-driving cars unless the law is amended significantly. Suppose a driver/operator is intoxicated above the legal limit and puts him or herself in a position in the vehicle where he or she could operate/command its functionality, even if there was no actual movement of the vehicle, that could arguably suffice to show actual physical control of a vehicle while intoxicated under Title 47.76 After all, under existing law, actual control of a vehicle exists when, for example, a driver is sleeping in the driver’s seat,77 or when he or she is unconscious behind the wheel.78 Likewise, if the driver/operator’s actions resulted in movement of the vehicle, that could possibly serve still as a basis for a charge of driving/operating a vehicle while intoxicated.79

An inattentive or reckless driving charge for a driver/operator of a self-driving car, without more, would raise very complicated questions. As noted, Oklahoma lacks precise definitions for inattentive and reckless driving. Oklahoma law requires “full attention,” which ordinarily means complete “concentration on what someone is doing,”80 while driving means “to operate a vehicle” causing motion.81 Ordinarily, to operate means “to work or use a machine, apparatus, or the like.”82 Put together, to attentively operate a vehicle means to exercise care and attention while engaging the functionality of a vehicle, which results in motion. Reckless driving, in contrast, is the negligent operation of a car that evidences a disregard for the safety of others.83 All this confirms that the overriding concern with both offenses is the safe operation of a given vehicle.84 If, in fact, safe operation of a vehicle is indeed the primary concern, then the NHTSA’s studies on self-driving cars are telling: having examined the available data, the NTHSA has previously concluded that self-driving car operating systems are safer options than a human driver.85 Indeed, self-driving cars are expected to be safer and to reduce many accidents (that are caused by human error), leading to greater road user safety all round.86

Against this background, it is difficult to envision that operating/or driving a vehicle, while having engaged an NHTSA compliant self-driving feature, supervised in close proximity by an able, licensed and capacitated driver is anything but inattentive or reckless driving. As noted, both those offenses require a driver/operator engage in conduct that endangers him or herself or others.87 Yet, the NHTSA’s evidence and studies cut the other way – the safety features and benefits of self-operated cars is greater than that afforded by humans exercising their best driving skills.88 Under those circumstances and existing law, prosecutions for these two offenses will prove problematic and difficult to sustain unless there are other operative factors that clearly show the driver was incapacitated or indisposed long enough that he or she could not effectively supervise the driving enterprise. Without these additional operative risk factors in a given case, and should the NHTSA develop standards and regulations unequivocally approving advanced self-driving car systems as being safe and usable on American roads, very complex federal/state law pre-emption issues might arise.89

The Need for Regulation for a Driverless Future – The Law As It Should Be

Recently, the NHTSA published a much-awaited guidance on self-driving cars in which it admonished states to 1) pass legislation addressing the current scope of self-driving cars and 2) to remain vigilant as to developments, updates or advances in the self-driving car industry and amend state law accordingly.90 To the states, the guidance provides as follows:

States should review their vehicle codes, applicable traffic laws, and similar items to determine if there are unnecessary regulatory barriers that would prevent the testing and deployment of [autonomous vehicles] on public roads. For example, some States require a human operator to have one hand on the steering wheel at all times – a law that would pose a barrier to Level 3 through Level 5 [autonomous vehicles].91

The NHTSA has taken the lead revising its own understanding of its regulations and vehicle operations generally to accommodate self-driving cars. Most notably, in response to Google’s request to the NHTSA to revisit its established interpretation of driver in its regulations to accommodate self-driving cars, the agency agreed.92 The NHTSA has re-interpreted “driver” –under its regulations implementing the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards Act (FMVSSA) – to include a self-driving operating system.93 So, under the FMVSSA, and regulations promulgated under it, a driver of a motor vehicle can be human or the car’s operating system.94

If Oklahoma is inclined to properly regulate self-driving cars, it can follow the NHTSA’s lead. Oklahoma can, similarly, expand its definition of “driver” or “operator” in Title 47 to include other forms of inanimate things beyond corporations (and the like), so as to embrace a self-driving car’s computer system, as the NHTSA has done. If that were done, lawmakers could choose to subject to safe-driving cars to the same obligations in the Highway Code that are imposed on humans.95 That would eradicate most of the uncertainties identified in this paper.

Oklahoma should heed the NHTSA’s call and pass legislation governing self-driving cars. Comprehensive legislative action can remove most of the uncertainty posed by self-driving cars and provide much needed clarity to all road users. The Legislature could start by formally authorizing NHTSA compliant self-driving cars and providing additional regulatory safeguards, including but not limited to, license endorsements, minimum insurance coverage and mandatory compliance with traffic rules to ensure the safe operation of self-driving vehicles in the state.

Spencer C. Pittman is an attorney with Winters & King Inc. in Tulsa. His primary focuses are business litigation/transactions and personal injury. He completed his undergraduate at OU in 2010 and obtained his law degree from the TU College of Law in 2013.

Mbilike Mwafulirwa is an attorney at Brewster & DeAngelis PLLC. His practice focuses on complex litigation, civil rights and appellate law. He is a 2012 graduate of the TU College of Law.

1. Victor Li, “The Dangers of Digital Things: Self-driving Cars Steer Proposed Laws on Robotics and Automation,” abajournal.com (March 18, 2018), //www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/self_driving_cars_legislation_robotics_automation (last seen Feb. 5, 2019).
2. Spencer C. Pittman, Mbilike M. Mwafulirwa, “Autonomous Vehicles and the Trolley Problem: An Ethical and Liability Conundrum,” 88 O.B.J. 1719 (Sept. 9, 2017).
3. See generally id.
4. Nathaniel Meyersohn, Matt McFarland, “Uber’s Self-driving Car has Killed Someone. What happened?,” cnn.commoney.cnn.com/2018/03/20/news/companies/self-driving-uber-death/index.html (last seen Feb. 5, 2019).
5. See Pittman & Mwafulirwa, supra note 2.
6. Michael Reilly, “Pay Attention! Tesla’s Autopilot Will Lock Out Lackadaisical Drivers,” MIT Tech. Rev. (Aug. 29, 2016), //www.technologyreview.com/s/602264/pay-attention-teslas-autopilot-will-lock-out-lackadaisical-drivers/ (last seen Feb. 5, 2019).
7. Jamie Condliffe, “Nissan ProPilot Joins a Bumpy Road for Autonomous Driving Aids,” MIT Tech. Rev. (July 13, 2016), //www.technologyreview.com/s/601896/nissan-propilot-tesla-autopilot-fatality-investigation/ (last seen Feb. 5, 2019).
8. Gautham Nagesh, “Eye-Tracking Technology for Cars Promises to Keep Drivers Alert,” Wall Street Journal (Sept. 9, 2016; 5:30 a.m. ET), www.wsj.com/articles/gms-driver-assist-technology-promises-to-nag-1473413432 (last seen Feb. 5, 2019).
9. Cadillac, “Introducing Cadillac Super Cruise,” Cadillac.com//www.cadillac.com/world-of-cadillac/innovation/super-cruise (last seen Feb. 5, 2019).
10. Xenophon P. Huddy, The Law of Automobiles, Preface v-vii (Mathew Bender 1906).
11. Id. at 13.
12. Id.
13. Id. at 48-49.
14. Id. at 51-52.
15. Id. at 51.
16. Id. at 51-52.
17. Bill Loomis, “1900-1930: The years of driving dangerously,” The Detroit News (April 26, 2015, 12:00 a.m. ET), www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan-history/2015/04/26/auto-traffic-history-detroit/26312107/ (last seen Feb. 5, 2019).
18. Id.
19. Id.
20. See generally id.
21. Don Gammill “Trip back in time reveals history of state’s driver’s licenses, laws,” NewsOK, (Nov. 6, 2006), newsok.com/article/2967304 (last seen Feb. 5, 2019).
22. See, e.g., Okla. Stat. Tit. 47 §§1-101, et seq.
23. Okla. Stat. Tit. 47 §1-186.
24. Id. §1-134(A)(1) (emphasis added).
25. See generally Okla. Stat. Tit. 47, ch. 1.
26. Parker v. State, 1967 OK CR 7, ¶12, 424 P.2d 997, 1000; see also Okla. Stat. Tit. 47 §1-101.
27. Oxford Advanced American Dictionary, “Self–combining form,” www.//oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/american_english/self_2 (last seen Feb. 5, 2019).
28. Dictionary.com, “Propel,” www.dictionary.com/browse/propelled (last seen Feb. 5, 2019).
29. See Okla. Stat. Tit. 47 §1-134(A)(1).
30. See id. §1-134(B)(4).
31. Id. §1-114(a).
32. Okla. Stat. Tit. 47 §1-144.
33. Id. §1-140. A caveat is in order here: we have excluded portions of the definition relating to those who exercise control or steer a vehicle that is being towed because that portion of the statute is beyond the scope of this article.
34. Id.
35. The Free Dictionary, “drive,” www.thefreedictionary.com/drive (last seen Feb. 5, 2019).
36. The Random House Dictionary of the English Language 1357 (2d ed. Unabridged 1987).
37. See 61 Am. Jur. Proof of Facts 3d 115 (citing Kwasnoski, John B., Stephen, John, & Partridge, Gerald, Officer’s DUI Handbook 1, 2 (Lexis Pub. 1998)).
38. See Bearden v. State, 1967 OK CR 133, ¶4, 430 P.2d 844, 847; accord Parker v. State, 1967 OK CR 7, ¶16, 461 P.2d 997, 1000.
39. See, e.g., Parker, 1967 OK CR 7, 424 P.2d 997; Bearden, 1967 OK CR 133, 430 P.2d 844; Crane v. State, 1969 OK CR 267, 461 P.2d 986; Hughes v. State, 1975 OK CR 83, 535 P.2d 1023; Mason v. State, 1979 OK CR 132, 603 P.2d 1146.
40. Parker1967 OK CR 7, ¶16, 424 P.2d at 1000.
41. Wofford v. State, 1987 OK CR 148, ¶¶2,4, 739 P.2d 543, 543-544.
42. Hughes, 1975 OK CR 83, ¶8, 535 P.2d at 1024-1025.
43. Id. (emphasis added).
44. Bearden, 1967 OK CR 133, ¶4, 430 P.2d at 847.
45. See Okla. Stat. Tit. 47 §11-901b (“The operator of every vehicle, while driving, shall devote their full time and attention to such driving”); Okla. Stat. Tit. 47 §11-504 (“[E]very driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary and shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any confused or incapacitated person upon a roadway.”); accord Tulsa City Ordinances, Tit. 37 §645; Oklahoma City Mun. Code Tit. 37 §32-10 (same).
46. See, e.g., Okla. Stat. Tit. 47 §11-901b.
47. Id.
48. See id.
49. Parker, 1967 OK CR 7, ¶12, 424 P.2d at 1000; see also Okla. Stat. Tit. 47 §1-101.
50. Merriam Webster, “Full attention,” www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/undivided/full/complete attention (last seen Feb. 5, 2019).
51. NHTSA, Understanding the Effects of Distracted Driving and Developing Strategies to Reduce Resulting Deaths and Injuries: Report to Congress (DOT HS 812053) 2 (December 2013), available at www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/812053-understandingeffectsdistracteddrivingreporttocongress.pdf (last seen Feb. 5, 2019).
52. NHTSA, Driver Distraction: A Review of the Current State-of-Knowledge (DOT HS 810 787), 3 (April 2008), available at www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/810787_0.pdf (last seen Feb. 5, 2019).
53. Okla. Stat. Tit. 47 §11-901(A).
54. Chappell v. State, 1969 OK CR 305, ¶2, 462 P.2d 325, 326.
55. Freeman v. State, 1940 OK CR 44, 101 P.2d 653, 663 (citations omitted).
56. Id.
57. See OUJI-CR 6-32 Reckless Driving (citing Lamb v. State, 1940 OK CR 113, 105 P.2d 799).
58. NHTSA, Automated Driving Systems 2.0: A Vision for Safety 4, available at www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/documents/13069a-ads2.0_090617_v9a_tag.pdf (last seen Feb. 5, 2019).
59. Id.
60. Id.
61. Id.
62. Id.
63. Id.
64. See, e.g., Okla. Stat. Tit. 47 §§11-605-6 (hand signals); 11-905 (driver’s license), 12-401(A) (horn); 12-403 (mirrors); 12-404 (B-D) (windshield view, etc.); 12-417(A)(1-2) (seat belt).
65. See Okla. Stat. Tit. 47 §§1-114(a), §1-140.
66. Id. §1-144.
67. McCullick v. State, 1984 OK CR 68, 7, 682 P.2d 235, 236.
68. See generally id.
69. See generally Okla. Stat. Tit. 47 §1-144.
70. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 134 S.Ct. 2751, 2768 (2014).
71. See Okla. Stat. Tit. 47 §§§1-134(A)(1), §1-134 (B)(4).
72. See text accompanying note 64, compare Okla. Stat. Tit. 47 §1-186 (no human required).
73. See Okla. Stat. Tit. 47 §1-140; see also Bearden, 1967 OK CR 133, ¶4, 430 P.2d at 847; Parker, 1967 OK CR 7, ¶16, 461 P.2d at 1000.
74. Supra text accompanying notes 36-38, 40, and 77.
75. Grant v. Knepper, 156 N.E. 650, 652 (N.Y. 1927).
76. See Okla. Stat. Tit. 47 §11-902.
77. Wofford, 1987 OK CR 148, ¶¶2,4, 739 P.2d at 543-544.
78. Hughes, 1975 OK CR 83, ¶8, 535 P.2d at 1024-1025.
79. See Okla. Stat. Tit. 47 §11-902; see generally Parker, 1967 OK CR 7, ¶16, 461 P.2d at 1000.
80. Supra text accompanying note 50.
81. Supra text accompanying note 35; see also Bearden, 1967 OK CR 133, ¶4, 430 P.2d at 847; Parker, 1967 OK CR 7, ¶16, 461 P.2d at 1000.
82. Supra text accompanying note 36.
83. Supra text accompanying notes 53-57.
84. Supra text accompanying notes 45 and 53; Okla. Stat. Tit. 47 §11-901 & 901b; see also Kane v. State, 1996 OK CR 14, 15, 915 P.2d 932, 937 (Oklahoma regulates driving to promote public safety).
85. See, e.g., NHTSA, Federal Automated Vehicles Policy: Accelerating the Next Revolution in Roadway Safety at 5 (September 2016), available at, www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/docs/AV%2520policy%20guidance%20PDF.pdf (last seen Feb. 5, 2019).
86. Id.
87. Supra text accompanying notes 45 and 53; see also, e.g., Okla. Stat. Tit. 47 §11-901b.
88. See, e.g., NHTSA, Federal Automated Vehicles Policy at 5.
89. 49 U.S.C. §30102(b)(1); see Geir v. Am. Honda Motor Co., 529 U.S. 861, 869-872 (2000) (state law can be pre-empted if it obstructs NHTSA standards and rules).
90. NHTSA, Automated Driving Systems 2:0 at 15.
91. Id. at 21.
92. See Paul A. Hemmersbaugh, Chief Counsel NHTSA, Letter in Response to Google’s Request for Interpretation on Self-Driving Cars (Feb. 4, 2016), available atisearch.nhtsa.gov/files/Google%2520--%20compiled%20response%20to%2012%20Nov%20%2015%20interp%20request%20--%204%20Feb%2016%20final.htm (last seen Feb 5, 2019).
93. Id. Under established administrative law principles, that interpretation, if reasonable, is worthy of judicial deference. See Auer v. Robbins, 519 U.S. 452, 461 (1997).
94. Supra text accompanying notes 89 and 91.
95. See Pittman & Mwafulirwa, supra note 2, at 1723.

Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal -- OBJ 90 pg. 36 (March 2019)