Self-Driving Cars and the Future of Auto Accidents

Self-driving cars are already here. While fully autonomous vehicles that require no human driver or occupant are a few years out, cars with self-driving features are already available. The hope is that fully autonomous vehicles will put an end to traffic fatalities. But accidents are inevitable during the experimental and transitional phase when new technology is still buggy and self-driving vehicles in various stages of autonomy are interacting with each other and the masses of human driven vehicles, not to mention pedestrians, bicyclists and animals.

Accidents Will Get More Complicated

Self-driving vehicles are programmed by humans, which means that they do not eliminate human error, just human driver error. The idea of getting into an accident that you are powerless to control or prevent is a terrifying prospect for drivers who feel they may ultimately be forced to adopt self-driving technology. Those accidents will happen and people will die. Accident avoidance requires making complex choices and making them quickly.

It is not going to be a straight switch to fully self-driving vehicles. Much of the technology is set up so that drivers can take over when needed. And that may actually be more dangerous than the driver or the vehicle being fully in control.

Liability Unknown

For decades before human drivers are fully phased out, if that ever happens, we will have a combination of humans and computers controlling vehicles. A looming question is who will be liable for accidents. In cases where drivers still have the option of taking control, we may see driver’s being held responsible, even when a computer failure was the true cause. And when the vehicle obviously failed, we know it’s a case of product liability, but we still have untangle the web of who is responsible for the defect.

If you have been injured in an accident that you believe was caused by self-driving features, please talk to an experienced defective vehicle accident attorney right away.

Avatar About Sandra Dalton

With a background as a paralegal, focusing on criminal defense and civil rights, Sandra Dalton launched her freelance writing career in 2000 with a weekly column on Freedom for Suite 101 and pro bono projects for individuals and organizations supporting causes close to her heart. One of her first projects was for the Police Compliant Center writing about police misconduct. Sandra’s legal writing quickly expanded to include personal injury, animal welfare, criminal defense, disability discrimination, family law and much more.