The Road Hazards & Accident Rates of Self-Driving Cars
Manufacturers of self-driving cars have been arguing for years that in time they will save lives by eliminating driver error from road safety. However, the actual safety of autonomous cars is yet to be determined, and companies like Ford, GM, Uber and Tesla are still putting motorists at risk with faulty, unproven self-driving cars on the road. Thus far, accident reports show human drivers and automated vehicles are about even in presenting motorists with safety risks.
At the moment, there is not a wealth of data to determine whether or not automation and self-driving cars are actually better at keeping occupants safe. All crash rates are determined by knowing how many non-collisions occur per mile driven. Assessing crash rates may be extremely difficult to pinpoint. Self-driving cars have logged about 1.2 million miles in total, while normal cars are driven trillions of miles a year. To determine automated vehicle safety, researchers will need to establish a non-collision rate for all driverless vehicles on the road.
Self-driving software does not get tired, intoxicated or experience road rage, but can these cars detect unpredictable and uncertain human driver behavior? Autonomous cars are driving in the moment and do not have the capability to predict events happening further down the road. Also, almost all safety data on self-driving cars is derived in the dry climate and good driving conditions in California and Arizona.
Automated cars are no doubt improving in their ability to operate safer, though perhaps the time has not come for manufacturers to market them as a safe option. Following accidents and injuries involving self-driving cars, victims may be able to file suit against responsible parties.
Joe Lyon is a highly-rated and experienced Ohio product liability attorney, well-versed in the economic impact road injuries and deaths have on a victim’s life and family.
Regulators Reluctant on Self-Driving Cars
Because nobody can ask what self-driving software what is thinking or explain why it will protect car occupants, people are naturally hesitant to put their lives at risk without some human accountability involved. Tech companies and car companies are doing their best to convince the public that autonomous cars are the safest option for the future, though of course they have a motive of making money from the venture.
Lawmakers are wrestling with how to control this technology. As human-controlled vehicles will remain on the roads for decades to come, is it safe for self-driving vehicles and human drivers to merge safely on the road? U.S. senators are reviewing the activity of Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Google other companies developing self-driving cars. There are concerns about autonomous vehicles and the potential for companies to use forced arbitration clauses in contracts with drivers or passengers to limit the accident liability of carmakers and ride-sharing operations. Recent events like the GM lawsuit and Uber death have highlighted legal issues surrounding autonomous cars.
Some senators and consumer advocates say forced arbitration would prohibit an injured driver or passenger from joining a class-action lawsuit, depriving Americans of legal recourse, and shifting the balance of power in the favor of big business instead of the safety of consumers. A letter from senators reads: “The innovation driving this technology is exciting, but accountability is critical to ensuring that innovation continues to promote safety first.” Automakers and self-driving car companies have been put on the spot to answer specific questions whether they currently use or plan to use forced arbitration provisions, and limit the legal options for American motorists.
Even though self-driving cars may not be directly at fault, test cars are involved in crashes at a higher rate of conventional cars. A study from the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute found that the rate is about twice as high. The study called “A Preliminary Analysis of Real-World Crashes Involving Self-Driving Vehicles” concluded that even though self-driving cars vehicles were not at fault in many crashes, it appears they are getting in a fair amount of accidents.
Following a self-driving car accident, victims should contact an experienced lawyer to investigate. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care, contact The Lyon Firm at (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer critical questions regarding self-driving car lawsuits.