Self-Driving Cars: A Revolution in Safety or a New Legal Bat

Self-Driving Cars: A Revolution in Safety or a New Legal Battleground?

While technology has failed to present us with the flying cars predicted decades ago, we have advanced to the point of self-driving vehicles.

Some drivers have happily jumped into the driver’s seat, excited to let the vehicle drive for them, but not everyone is ready to hand over that kind of power. Are self-driving vehicles safer than those operated by a living, breathing body? And what are the legal ramifications if the autopilot goes awry?

If you’ve been involved in an accident with a robot car, consult with a car accident lawyer in Hartford. One of their compassionate legal professionals can help you seek justice and compensation. Cases involving self-driving cars could prove to have multiple defendants, and you’ll need the legal savvy of a professional to get the job done.

Are Self-Driving Cars Safer Than Those With Human Drivers?

In recent years, this has been a hotly debated topic. As more consumers embrace autonomous vehicles, the debate is sure to increase. Self-driving vehicles use different types of technology to get their human occupants safely from point A to point B. This is accomplished by a complex system of cameras, sensors, radar, and even a bit of AI (artificial intelligence). AI comes in handy as it continuously learns the behaviours of surrounding vehicles and can predict their movements.

While the point of a self-driving car is obvious, it still sometimes requires human interaction. As this technology advances, drivers may become obsolete, but for now, they’re still a required part of the driving experience. The question is if one of these self-driving vehicles collides with another car, who’s to blame? 

The Pros of Self-Driving Vehicles

Other than a less stressful experience for the driver, self-driving cars have other benefits. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that approximately 3,000 people are killed each year due to distracted driving. They also report that nearly 425,000 people are injured due to distracted drivers. Self-driving vehicles should, in theory, reduce these numbers if all cars were equipped with this technology.

The Cons of Self-Driving Vehicles

Although advances in AI and the other technology that goes hand-in-hand with autonomous vehicles have grown, they haven’t yet met the moment of perfection. Any type of technology is still prone to malfunction and breakdowns. While it does a very good job at predicting the behaviours of nearby vehicles, a complex traffic situation or quickly changing weather could prove to be too much data in too little time.

Another issue with self-driving cars is the topic of security. Some autonomous vehicles could be hacked, leaving their occupants dangerously vulnerable. With each security upgrade to self-driving vehicles, unscrupulous hackers seek ways to exploit its weaknesses.

Who Is Responsible for an Accident Caused by a Self-Driving Car?

History will eventually prove who is ultimately at fault when accidents occur between a self-driving vehicle and one with a human driver. However, vehicle manufacturers of self-driving vehicles firmly state that the drivers of such vehicles need to remain alert to ensure safety. In 2018, Tesla won a favourable court judgment and wasn’t found liable for one of their self-driving vehicles that drove onto a median.

At present, drivers are still ultimately responsible for the safe operation of their vehicles. Despite having all the bells and whistles to operate without human intervention, the courts consider those vehicles that have self-driving capabilities to be a collaborative experience between driver and technology. However, each case of a collision involving a self-driving car is different; in general, their drivers will be found to be at fault.

What To Do If Injured in a Crash With a Self-Driving Car

Fortunately, if you have the evidence to prove that you were in no way negligent and the crash was caused by the self-driving car, the courts and the law are in your favour. However, this doesn’t mean you can go alone and seek compensation for your damages. All accident claims have their nuances, and those with a self-driving vehicle have far more than the average accident.

To ensure that you are awarded the best possible compensation, working with an experienced car accident lawyer is crucial. Without their legal and negotiation know-how, your case could quickly go nowhere. Never attempt compensation without a lawyer by your side.

Self-Driving Cars, Collisions, and Safety: Final Words

Are self-driving cars safer than those manned by human drivers? Unfortunately, the jury is still out; it could take some time before a definitive verdict is reached. From a legal standpoint, the vehicle’s driver who caused an accident is almost always found to be the at-fault party. Possible exceptions could be manufacturing defects in the technology used for self-driving vehicles. However, guilt will be found on a case-by-case basis.

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