While self-driving vehicles are still a novelty, they are growing in popularity. While manufacturers aim to reduce driver error, autonomous cars are not flawless. Accidents involving driverless vehicles can make for complicated cases, especially when it comes to determining liability.
If you are involved in a car accident with a driverless vehicle, it can be difficult to know where to turn for information and assistance. A personal injury lawyer in your area can clarify everything you need to know about self-driving and autonomous cars.
Are Self-Driving or Autonomous Driving Cars as Safe as Traditional Cars?
According to recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data, many cars already in use rely on some measure of driver-assisted technology. The purpose of much of this tech is to foster increased safety for road users.
Tech-based safety features have developed over time. From cruise control and antilock brakes to rearview video systems and lane-centering technology, NHTSA estimates that fully automated cars will arrive by 2025.
NHTSA data further indicates that more than 36,000 people were fatally injured in car accidents across the U.S. in 2019. Self-driving and autonomous cars purport to improve on-the-road safety by removing the human contribution to the circumstances that cause collisions.
The High Cost of Motor Vehicle Accidents
Accidents involving traditional vehicles incur billions of dollars in expenses on an annual basis. Safety features that decrease the number of annual accidents will lead to a decrease in that number.
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How Can a Self-Driving Car Detect and Avoid Accidents?
According to Consumer Reports, up to 90% of all car accidents are caused by driver error. With the advancement of self-driving and autonomous cars, the human error factor is eliminated.
The technological advances of these vehicles include:
Forward-Collision Warning (FCW)
Technology such as sensors and cameras that monitor vehicle distance, collision risks, and issue audio and visual warnings. Some even feature automatic braking capabilities.
Assistive Input and Monitoring
Technology in this category includes vehicle detection in blind spots, increasing warning lights and signals as potential dangers are detected, alerts to vehicles approaching from the rear, and backup cameras.
Additional Safety Features
Additional safety features of self-driving vehicles will include lane detection warnings, traditional and adaptive cruise control, and the ability to detect pedestrians. Vehicles that park themselves and vehicles that communicate with each other over wireless technology are also anticipated safety measures.
Are Self-Driving Cars Safe for Use on Shared Public Roads?
Since the early days of self-driving and autonomous vehicles, tests have been conducted on their safety and efficacy. According to Reuters, Waymo is a leader in safe self-driving mileage, accruing more than 10 million self-driven miles since its inception. Of these miles, dozens of crashes have occurred without causing serious injury.
Other vehicle companies and manufacturers are continuing to test on U.S. streets including Uber, GM, and Tesla.
According to Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, a 2018 CARiD Survey cites the following statistics on public opinion in regard to driverless cars:
- 53% of pollsters would not feel safe in a driverless car
- 75% of pollsters prefer traditional versus autonomously driving
Public perception will play an important part in getting cars like these on the road and into the hands of everyday users.
How Does Insurance for Self-Driving Cars Differ From Insurance for Regular Cars?
When a traditional car is insured, the insurance covers the owner or driver of the vehicle and their actions. In the event of an accident, liability is assigned to the human being whose negligence caused the accident.
When a car has no driver, how is liability assigned in a collision in order for the injured party to recover compensation? The makers of self-driving and autonomous vehicles may bear increasing levels of liability.
While they are expected to lead to a reduction in the number of accidents on the road, the repairing or replacing of self-driving vehicles can be significantly higher than that of traditional cars.
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Who is Liable for an Accident Involving a Self-Driving Car?
Every accident is unique, but collisions involving self-driving cars can complicate the claims process. Insurance adjusters may have difficulty getting to the bottom of what caused and accident and assigning liability.
Even if a driver of an autonomous car does not behave negligently, the vehicle can cause an accident if its software malfunctions. In this case, the self-driving car manufacturer may be liable.
A personal injury lawyer can help investigate an accident to determine who is responsible.
Contact Our Case Review Team Today
If you were involved in a collision with one of the tech-based vehicles of the day, our car accident lawyers can help you explore your financial recovery options. Learn more about the steps to recovery and everything you need to know about self-driving and autonomous cars.
When you are ready to start seeking compensation, contact one of our Isaacs & Isaacs Personal Injury Lawyers team members today.