Self-Driving Car Accidents

self driving carWhether you like it or not, self-driving cars are being used with increasing frequency on our roadways. Completely driverless cars with no steering wheels or brake pedals are a short time away. Until then, the human being behind the steering wheel of a self-driving car still plays a role in getting from his or her point of origin to their destination safely.

Operator Responsibilities

Essential tasks that the operator of self-driving car must be involved in are keeping an eye on traffic conditions and performing effective intervention in terms of speed and direction when required. The operator is also required to be continually aware of whether the vehicle’s automated system is working correctly.

When the Self-Driving Option Can Be Used

To date, self-driving car systems have their limitations. You do not want to operate a self-driving vehicle in bad weather or rush hour traffic. They are best used on an open highway, but drivers are still responsible for getting from one place to another without incident.

Dangers of Self-Driving Cars

The first self-driving car operator fatality took place in Florida in May of 2016. The 40-year-old operator of a Tesla Model S was traveling at 74 mph when he crashed into a semi-trailer crossing a highway. Nobody knows whether he ever saw the truck, but the Tesla’s black box indicated that he had seven seconds to avoid the accident. Tesla’s position was that there was no evidence that the driver ever made an attempt to avoid the crash. Yet another step in technological advancement has now expanded the definition of distracted driving.

It is likely that in the next 20 years or sooner, we will be seeing completely autonomous motor vehicles on our roads without any drivers or operators at all. For now, if a self-driving vehicle injures or kills somebody, we can still have the operator held liable, or the manufacturers if the vehicle malfunctioned. The law must keep pace with the rapid development of technology though.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a car accident that was caused by a self-driving vehicle, contact us right away for a free consultation and case evaluation.

Posted August 20th, 2018