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What Happens if a Driverless Car Hits Me?

When you see and read about autonomous vehicles, it feels like the future is now. The potential of a car that drives itself can be transformative for our society. Driverless cars are better for the environment, better for roadways, and a boon to transportation safety. There’s an agreement in the automotive safety industry that driverless vehicles will lead to dramatic drops in injuries and death. The technological advancements in the industry have been plentiful, and the industry has moved ahead in leaps forward instead of baby steps.

There have been many studies done at this point to gauge how comfortable the driving public is with driverless vehicles, and while Americans are becoming more comfortable with the idea of cars that do not need human input, the percentages are not yet close to 50%. Most of the worry and concern is centered around the unknown and the speed at which industry is changing without parameters in place to order the chaos.

Ways Driverless Cars Put Consumers At-Risk

The changing technology is just one area of concern in the overall picture when it comes to autonomous vehicles. The average American is not sure when it comes to riding in driverless vehicles, and they are also worried about sharing the roadways with these modern marvels. We experience autonomous driving in other areas of our lives, like cruise control in our cars or guided flights on airplanes, but these features have greater human interaction. Even moderately priced consumer vehicles have more autonomous features than ever before, and automation like auto parking, autonomous braking, and accident-avoidance features have been growing in popularity.

So, why are we worried about driverless cars? Here are the leading reasons most consumers and public safety experts worry we aren’t ready for driverless vehicles:

  • False Sense of Security: Consumers who purchase autonomous or self-driving cars are lulled into the belief their cars can drive, think, and make choices to keep them and everyone else on the roadways safe. Many autonomous vehicle accidents have involved interactions with human drivers. When consumers buy these vehicles, they believe the cars are more capable than they are in reality.
  • Real World Driving Conditions: The tests driverless cars endure are strenuous, but real-world driving is a complex mixture of split-second choices. Do you swerve? Do you brake? An engaged and active driver may have an accident, but they are engaged and looking at the circumstances to make the best choice for all drivers.
  • Lack of Self-Driving Regulations: Technology moves faster than our legal system can keep pace with, so there are regulations and laws missing that could protect consumers. Until lawmakers enact legislation to address many of the concerns regarding autonomous vehicles, the driving public may have to exercise extreme caution. Thankfully, some regulations regarding safety guidelines do exist, and they are increasing each year.

The reason many in the government and the consumer public are concerned with the growing popularity of driverless cars is that we don’t believe there are enough fail-safe provisions in place. Without a person or an engaged driver in the vehicle, how will autonomous cars know not to hit other cars? How will it know to avoid an accident? These are society’s worries, but what about the law?

Legal Issues and Driverless Vehicles

Once self-driving cars are the norm, does it mean any accident will be the fault of the vehicle? The manufacturer? What happens to the rights of consumers? Negligence and products liability cases become arguments without a clear target. Proving a product liability case, determining fault, and being compensated for losses may become even harder than it is now.

Pocatello Product Liability and Personal Injury Attorneys

At May, Rammell & Wells, our Pocatello product liability attorneys can review the details of your case so you can determine your next steps with as much information as possible. We have worked on many personal injury and product liability cases over the years, and we are confident we can help you. Contact us now at (208) 623-8021 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.

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