Are Self-Driving Cars Safe?
As companies like Google, Uber, and General Motors work overtime to roll out self-driving cars across American roadways, questions about their safety are cropping up just as quickly. After a recent high-profile fatal accident involving a self-driving Uber and a pedestrian in Arizona, many already skeptical consumers are even less enthusiastic about embracing this fairly new technology.
After the accident in Arizona, companies that manufactured the sensors and assisted driving systems for the car involved in the crash all denied their technology was at fault. When self-driving cars are involved in an accident, liability is a gray area. So who is making sure autonomous vehicles are safe and who should be held accountable when they are not?
Laws Slow to Catch Up With Technology
There are few laws currently on the books to regulate how self-driving cars should be introduced to public streets and who is at fault when they crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a sizable report urging state lawmakers to encourage innovation and technological advancement and become more “nimble” in legislating self-driving cars.
Currently, the onus is on individual states to establish how self-driving cars are tested for safety and introduced to local roadways. This dynamic presents a problem as states differ in their self-driving laws. For example, Arizona has banned Uber from testing their self-driving cars in the state, while California requires individuals and companies to obtain permits and report accidents and disengagements in order to operate autonomous vehicles.
In 2015, partly in response to the fatal Uber crash, Arizona’s governor issued the state’s first self-driving guidelines. These guidelines require every autonomous car to have a licensed human driver on board and be fully insured. Currently, state officials also ask companies operating self-driving cars without a human driver in the front seat to install specialized systems designed to mitigate damage in the event of a crash.
The order also asks the state Department of Transportation to develop protocol for how law enforcement handles accidents involving autonomous cars. Time will tell if this framework for self-driving car safety is effective, saves lives, and inspires other states to follow Arizona’s lead.
Some traffic safety experts predict that self-driving technology will reduce traffic fatalities to zero within the next few decades, but we are not there yet. As auto manufacturers add sensors, cameras, and other autonomous technology to newer cars and trucks, legislators, industry experts, and law enforcement officials will inevitably navigate uncharted territory. They are tasked with to determining if these new features are safe and if they are not, who is responsible after an accident.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Handle Self-Driving Car Accident Claims
Until self-driving technology is perfected and the chance of human error is completely eliminated, car accidents are inevitable. If you are the victim of a car accident where autonomous technology malfunctioned or failed to prevent a collision, the Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. can help.
Our skilled team is ready to take on the most complex cases, prove liability, and recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries. To discuss your case with a knowledgeable Philadelphia car accident lawyer, contact us online or call 888-999-1962 to arrange a free consultation. We serve clients throughout the greater Philadelphia area from our offices in Center City and Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Clients in North Carolina can visit our office in Pinehurst.