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Can Self-Driving Cars Be Trusted?

Published: Oct 23, 2017 in Car Accidents

Self-driving vehicles have only been on the road a brief period of time. It is not a stretch to believe autonomous vehicles will be involved in more accidents in the future. Individuals who are hurt in these types of accidents will need trusted and experienced legal guidance from car accident lawyers like the attorneys at Belt & Bruner, P.C. to recover the compensation they deserve under the law.

Modern vehicles are slowly gaining more autonomous features. From reactive cruise control to automatic braking, many recently-released vehicles help drivers avoid accidents. The next step in this vehicular evolution is for cars to become fully autonomous like Tesla’s Autopilot and Google’s self-driving car program, now called Waymo. Yet, while the road vehicle manufacturers are traveling down is clear, there are still many questions. Are self-driving cars safe? Can they be trusted? Answers to these and other questions may only be answered in time. Whether or not individuals choose to trust a self-driving vehicle now or in the future, self-driving cars have so far been a safe addition to U.S. roads. Unfortunately, these vehicles’ current safety records may not last.

Call the Alabama car accident lawyers with Belt & Bruner, P.C. today at (205) 933-1500 for a confidential case consultation.

Self-Driving Vehicles Have Been Safe – So Far

Waymo, Google’s self-driving car program, has logged more than two million miles in the U.S. So far, there has been only one accident in which the self-driving vehicle was at fault. Based on miles driven, this makes Waymo’s safety rating far better than even the safest drivers – those between the ages of 60 and 69 years old. Waymo’s at-fault rate is currently 10 times lower than these senior drivers.

Tesla’s Autopilot, is different than Waymo in that it is currently available to consumers. Autopilot has been involved in a few minor-to-moderate crashes, and one fatal crash that took place in May of 2016. However, investigations conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Transportation Safety Board found Tesla’s program was not at fault. Instead, the investigation found the driver was overly reliant on the Autopilot feature and distracted for seven seconds, during which time he should have seen the truck he collided with. The NHTSA also reported the Autopilot system reduced crashes by 40 percent.

Self-Driving Vehicles May Be Hackable

One of the most significant issues with modern vehicles, no matter their level of autonomy, is whether or not they can be hacked and controlled by an outside party. It may not matter how safe a self-driving car typically is if it can be taken over from afar, putting its occupants and others on the road in danger. Unfortunately, there is no doubt that self-driving cars are hackable. This has been proven by professional researchers and independent programmers. The real question is whether automakers will develop security to match the vehicle’s vulnerability.

Seeking Compensation After a Self-Driving Car Accident

If you are injured in an accident involving a vehicle with a self-driving or autonomous features, contact our experienced Alabama car accident attorneys at Belt & Bruner, P.C. right away. When another vehicle caused the crash, it may take an in-depth investigation to determine what really happened. It may have been the other driver’s fault, or the accident could have occurred because of an error in the autonomous function of the vehicle. For example, the cruise control may have faltered, or the automatic braking system might have malfunctioned. In this situation, the at-fault party may be the automobile manufacturer and not the driver.

When facing a potentially complex auto accident claim, let our experienced personal injury lawyers help you. We have years of experience handling car accident insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits, and we keep up with the practical and legal ramifications of fully and semi-autonomous vehicles.

For more information on how we may be of service after a crash, contact us online, or call (205) 933-1500 to schedule your initial consultation.