When it comes to the vehicles we drive, the push towards more automated systems has been going on for decades. Automatic transmissions, antilock braking systems, and stability control systems utilize technology to assist drivers in controlling vehicles and avoiding accidents. The goal is to develop automotive systems that are more convenient and safer in terms of reducing the likelihood of car accidents and injuries.
Fully autonomous, self-driving cars, which are now in development, are the culmination of many technological innovations. The development of self-driving vehicles has accelerated to the point that several manufacturers have pledged to have self-driving vehicles on the market within a decade. Legal questions remain as to the liability if a self-driving car causes a collision. In the event that a self-driving car is involved in an accident, will the courts hold the manufacturer or the the vehicle owner liable. Will you be able to sue the robot driver who hit you?
According to a January 2016 report on self-driving cars in the New York Times, driverless cars are getting a push from the federal government. The report states that the Obama Administration is eager to bring these cars to the market, and has proposed spending nearly $4 billion over the next 10 years on research and infrastructure improvements for the vehicles. The Administration estimates that self-driving cars could prevent 25,000 crashes annually and pledged to speed up development of regulatory guidelines for the use of self-driving cars on public highways.
Behind the push for driverless vehicles is the promise these cars hold of reduced accidents and fatalities. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Roughly, 30,000 people each year die as a result of accidents.
The Insurance Institute lists driver errors, such as distracted driving, speeding, and driving under the influence, as one the most frequent causes of car crashes and collisions. By eliminating the potential for human error from the equation, autonomous vehicles show promise to avoid car accidents, injuries, and deaths.
While driverless cars may help to avert car accidents, who is responsible when an accident does occur in one of these vehicles? According to the IEEE, one of the largest professional associations in the world for the advancement of technology, that is a question with no clear answers as of yet.
A 2015 report from the IEEE on self-driving cars states that while some driverless car manufacturers, such as Google, Volvo, and Mercedes Benz, accept full liability for the vehicles when they are in autonomous modes, there is always the potential for drivers to override the system.
A February 2016 letter from the National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA) to Goggle concerning driverless cars acknowledges that while in autonomous mode the car itself is considered the driver. The potential for driver interference means that new rules and regulations will need to be made to cover the new technology.
If you or someone you care about is involved in a car accident, contact our experienced Florida car accident attorneys today. At the Disparti Law Group, P.A., we can advise you on how to hold those responsible for your injuries accountable, and assist you in seeking the compensation you need to recover. Serving clients throughout the Tampa and Holiday areas, our office can help. Call or contact us online today for a free consultation.