Is America Ready For Self-Driving Vehicles And The Uncertainties They Bring Along With Them?

As auto manufactures continue to create and produce vehicles that are less reliant on human interaction with them, is our society ready for this advancement? Obviously, there will be a gradual shift into vehicles that don’t come equipped with steering wheels or even brakes and drivers will have some sort of control of their vehicle as we first enter in the world of self-driving vehicles. But, can we or should we expect accidents to occur? There have already been a few collisions that have been documented and used to help companies correct flaws that may have been present, but again, should we expect more once a full fleet has been released to dealerships to sell?

Ford SEO asked a question that perhaps is something we should all ponder on and that is, “how many deaths per year in self-driving cars will be acceptable” [Source: Fast Company]? While the answer should be none, we can’t exactly expect perfection from these vehicles. There will be defects, flaws, and accidents, and the only way to tell what is going to be accepted is after drivers begin switching over to using these advanced vehicles and we monitor how many actually engage in a car accident.

But, that brings up yet another issue.

How will the vehicle know who to save in the event it can detect an accident is about to arise? You? The pedestrian who has decided to cross the street at the wrong time? Or, perhaps the other car that it is about to hit? Of course, self-driving vehicles will be programmed to make an “informed” decision, but there is still some uncertainty that lurks in that question which leads us into our next question.

Are U.S. Drivers Fearful of Sharing the Roadway with a Self-Driving Car?

According to a report from AAA, “the majority of U.S. drivers seek autonomous technologies in their next vehicle, but they continue to fear the fully-self-driving car.” Why? Well, its new and unknown. Something that we aren’t familiar with often leaves us feeling uneasy, which is likely why drivers are feeling a bit on edge about sharing the roadway with these vehicles. Although the main goal of having these vehicles manufactured is to help reduce the number of auto accidents occurring today as there are over 37,000 deaths associated with car crashes each year, we won’t know how “safe” self-driving cars are until our roadways have several driving on them [Source: Association for Safe International Road Travel].

When the times does come, however, while we can expect accidents to transpire, how will an auto accident claim be handled between two driverless vehicles? Better yet, how will driverless car accident cases affect a victim’s award or settlement offer?

It is evident that driverless cars are the future. With technology developing at the rate that is it, there is no doubt the roadways are going to be filled with vehicles driving passengers around who simply can sit back and relax, not ever having to place a hand on the wheel simply because there won’t be one. But, until that day comes, where does our nation stand in terms of what to do after having been involved in an accident with one of these vehicles? Who is to blame? A vehicle that doesn’t have a mind of its own or the driver who simply doesn’t have a say in how the automobile operates? These are all valid questions that need answering.

While General Motors (GM) expects to have their self-driving vehicles out on the streets in 2019, Uber and Lyft are going to fight for a piece of the pie as well as they too plan on having these vehicles shuttle individuals to and from their desired destinations. Until then, we will continue to have our current vehicles cruising around the roadways in anticipation of this change to come.

 And while there may be many uncertainties that won’t be addressed until drivers actually get to experience what it is like to “operate” a driverless vehicle, one thing car accident lawyers can be sure of is that regardless of what type of automobile you are traveling in, they will always increase your chances of getting you the outcome you are seeking in an auto accident case.

Stephen Boutros

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Stephen Boutros Ltd. is dedicated to provide strong legal representation for all types of personal injury cases throughout Harris County, Texas.

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