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Delivery Robot Laws are Lax in PA
(Photo : Delivery Robot Laws are Lax in PA)

As technology continues to advance, the ways we receive consumer goods are beginning to change dramatically. One of the changes that has resulted in a mixture of enthusiasm and skepticism is through the use of autonomous delivery robots. As far-fetched as this might have sounded only a few years ago, major retailers have already rolled out the use of these devices in multiple states. Now, Pennsylvania has adopted rules regarding these robots. Many experts say they are some of the most lax requirements in the country. 

These regulations allow for larger, faster autonomous robots compared to many other states. Additionally, they classify these robots as pedestrians which allows them to travel on sidewalks. This raises a variety of issues when accidents happen. These questions could be addressed with the help of Bucks County, PA car accident lawyer

Pennsylvania Laws Regarding Personal Delivery Devices

In Pennsylvania, these autonomous robots are referred to as personal delivery devices (PDD). Under the new law, PDDs are considered pedestrians so long as they yield the right-of-way to individuals that are cycling or walking. 

There are other details of this new law that are a major deviation from the approach taken by other states. One obvious example is the maximum weight for a PPD. While many states cap the weight of a PDD at around 100 pounds, Pennsylvania allows for robots that weigh up to 550 pounds. A PDD may also travel at up to 12 miles per hour on sidewalks and 25 miles per hour outside of pedestrian areas. These speed limits are the second-highest nationwide. 

PDD Permit Requirements

There are strict permit requirements a company must meet before they can lawfully make use of PDDs in the Commonwealth. The process for obtaining a permit starts with filing an operational plan for the company regarding its use of PDDs. In addition to the operational plan, a company must also create a detailed plan for its procedures when accidents happen. 

While PDDs are considered pedestrians, a permit will only be available after the applicant provides proof of liability insurance coverage. Additionally, the Commonwealth requires these companies to develop an educational plan to increase public awareness about PDD safety. 

Legal Questions Surrounding Delivery Robots

There are many questions left unanswered regarding these delivery robots. While obtaining a permit for PDD use in Pennsylvania requires proof of liability insurance, it remains to be seen how these claims might play out in court. Because these vehicles are considered pedestrians, there are questions on how the right-of-way applies when a PPD collides with a motor vehicle. 

This issue is especially confusing given the PPD's status when not on crosswalks or pedestrian walkways. When traveling on the shoulder of roads or the berm near a highway, these vehicles are allowed to travel at the speed of a car or truck. 

If you have suffered an injury in a collision with a PPD, your attorney could advise you on your rights and responsibilities. The location where the accident took place will be important to your claim. To learn more, schedule your private consultation today.