Over 90% of accidents are due to driver error. Some of these errors occur because of distracted driving, i.e., you’re texting or checking your email on your phone. A self-driving car could help you do the things you need to do while driving, without risking your safety (and those of others) on the road. But are you truly safe with the automotive technology?
Risk Reduction — Not Elimination
While a self-driving car opens up opportunities for multi-tasking on the road, it is still not a guarantee for your safety. The technology behind it is still getting improvements. Recent incidents where drivers have been in accidents behind a self-driving car demonstrate this development.
Elon Musk announced improvements to his sought-after Tesla after a man died driving in autopilot. His Tesla Model S crashed into a tractor trailer. Google’s self-driving car, which is a modified Lexus, sideswiped a bus after the technology avoided a pile of sandbags, detecting the road obstruction.
Aside from the technology causing nonhuman errors and road incidents, a self-driving car will still share the road with traditional cars. This means dealing with other drivers behind the wheel, and Haffner Law points out, reckless driving, such as road rage, will lead to road accidents and injuries.
Who’s Liable and Who Pays?
Tesla and Google are not the only players in the self-driving car market. Ford and Volvo are planning to release fully autonomous cars by 2020. Uber and Lyft are also considering driverless taxis. By 2025, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety projects 3.5 million self-driving cars will be on the road.
What happens when you get in an accident with a self-driving car? Who’s responsible and who’s liable for damages? Volvo has said it will pay for any injuries or property damaged its IntelliSafe Autopilot System caused. It’s not clear whether other manufacturers will follow Volvo’s lead in assuming liabilities.
The best way to determine liability in car accidents is to seek legal advice. As a complainant, you may have a number of arguments available to you during litigation. And if you’re injured, you may be entitled to compensation.