Dangers of Self-Driving Vehicles

If you think an article on this topic is a little premature, think again – driverless vehicles are in operation right now as you are reading this. Waymo, an autonomous car company owned by Alphabet, is currently testing out their cars on the streets of Phoenix with an early rider program. Proponents of driverless cars will point to statistics about driving being incredibly dangerous because of unpredictable human behavior, and will predict that driverless cars will make the world a much safer place.

But are they safer right now? Not exactly. An autonomous Uber struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona earlier this year, causing the company to pull the plug on driverless car testing in that state. Though the NHTSA estimates that 90% or more accidents are caused by human error, it seems that even the best driverless cars likewise have trouble responding to random decisions. According to a report published by the IIHS last month, some models even have trouble recognizing obstacles, like objects and even stopped cars ahead of them.

What is worrying isn’t the idea of driverless cars – should that technology deliver on its promises of reduced accidents and safer transportation, it would be a massive success. No, what is troublesome is that these autonomous cars are on public streets in their current state of development. Every major car manufacturer and other tech giants like Google, Uber, and even Apple are all working to create successful self-driving cars, so testing is bound to get more and more widespread. With more testing comes the potential for more accidents, so drivers should be aware when a company brings testing to their areas.

The legal aspect of self-driving car accidents is also tricky. Who is at fault? How can you determine how much of the blame lies with the human, and how much with the car? Can a car be “negligent”? If there was a person in the driver’s seat of an autonomous car during a crash, are they at fault for not stepping in to operate the vehicle? Does it become a product liability issue where the car companies can be sued? Since auto injury cases are normally concerned with figuring out who was negligent and to what degree, a crash with a self-driving car throws all precedent out of the window.

The laws governing self-driving cars, like the technology of autonomous cars itself, is still in its early stages. What is clear is that if you are ever in an accident involving a new transportation technology, whether that is with a ridesharing car or a driverless vehicle, you should hire an attorney capable of handling this complex issue.

The Law Offices of Richard Troutman excels at handling auto accident cases of any kind. Whether you’ve been involved in a normal car accident, a truck accident, a motorcycle accident, an Uber accident, or even a self-driving car accident, Richard Troutman has the experience and expertise to figure out the best plan for you. To book your free initial consultation with one of Florida’s leading attorneys, call us today at 407-647-5002.

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