Texting while driving. Falling asleep at the wheel. Driving after a few too many beers.
What do all of these mistakes have in common? They are all common causes of fatal car accidents, and they are all caused by humans.
“To err is human,” as the saying goes. That’s why car accidents frequently occur despite the best efforts of our society and government to prevent them. Nobody’s perfect, so you can’t expect our roads to be—right?
The innovators and engineers at Google and other major car manufacturers are out to change this. Throughout recent years, these manufacturers have been developing and testing fully autonomous vehicles—robotic cars that can navigate without a human driver. These self-driving vehicles use tools such as radar, GPS, and computer vision to navigate and sense their surroundings, identifying roads, obstacles, and traffic signals.
While you can’t go out and buy an autonomous vehicle today, it looks as though it will be a short matter of time before these smart cars appear on the market. The commercial use of these vehicles has already kicked off, with several companies testing out the use of driverless military trucks and mining machines. Many states—including Florida, California, and Nevada—have passed legislation for driverless cars, granting auto manufacturers permission to test autonomous vehicles on their roads.
The Potential Benefits of Driverless Cars
According to the Rand Corporation in their report, Autonomous Vehicle Technologies, Liability of Drivers, and Insurance, putting autonomous vehicles on the road in the place of human drivers can reduce the number of auto accidents. “Human error causes the vast majority of crashes today, and, by reducing the risk of human error, AV technologies can reduce the incidence of crashes,” the report maintains. After all, computers do not get sleepy or sidetracked, and will be far more aware of their surroundings than most humans.
And reduced potential for human error is only one of the potential benefits of driverless cars. Autonomous cars may help to prevent traffic jams and congestion, resulting in fewer fuel emissions. No more will drivers have to lose hours to commutes, instead using the time to work or relax. In addition, autonomous cars can provide a means for disabled and blind people to travel safely.
Concerns and Liability Issues
Sounds great, right? However, there are still some concerns surrounding the use of driverless vehicles.
Road planning. Integrating autonomous cars into our transportation system will require extensive planning. For cars to operate without a driver, road safety and driving laws that have been in place for generations will have to be revised. Road and traffic signals must be perfectly planned to the last detail for systems to be able to navigate them without confusion.
Incapacity for human interaction. Simple hand signals from construction workers and police officers will be difficult for cars to interpret. Additionally, the negligent and aggressive habits of the cars’ fellow human drivers might confuse the vehicles’ navigation systems. As executive director of the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford University Sven A. Beiker suggested to reporters in a New York Times article, an autonomous car may be “so polite it might be sitting at a four-way intersection forever, because no one else is coming to a stop.”
Technology problems. There’s also potential for technological disasters. Since vehicles will rely on satellite data, they are susceptible to attacks from hackers. Malicious hacking can cause extensive harm to computers and phones, and the potential for harm only increases when large, fast-moving vehicles are hacked. Additionally, autonomous cars filled with explosives could be used as weapons and bombs by terrorists.
Elimination of transportation-related jobs. If autonomous cars become widespread, automobile technicians, public transportation officials, and insurance agents may find themselves without an industry.
Liability and regulation issues. Regulation and liability questions abound. If there’s no driver behind the wheel, who will be held accountable if there is a problem—the person using the car or the manufacturer? What happens if a police officer wants to pull the car over? Will a self-driving car require a special kind of insurance?
Even though these autonomous vehicles can promote efficiency and eliminate human error, they can’t prevent accidents completely. And when an accident occurs, it will be difficult to prove fault if you are injured. When dealing with the complex issue of proving liability after a car accident—whether between two human drivers, a human driver and a robot driver, or two robot drivers—it’s best to contact an experienced auto accident attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you navigate complicated liability laws, protect your rights, and obtain fair compensation after an accident.
About the Author:
Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 15-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The Injury Law Firm of South Florida, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.
Although parking lot crashes are rarely high-speed, they do happen – a lot of them. Moreover, parking lot accidents often result in expensive repair bills and insurance increases. A parking lot crash can also cause serious or even fatal injuries, especially if pedestrians are involved. Below we’re going to break down how parking lot auto [..]
Consumer products regulations ensure that most products on the market are safe for their intended use. However, some consumer products companies push the boundaries of regulations or cut corners in the design or manufacturing process, which can lead to dangerous defective products reaching US consumers. When consumers are injured by a defective product, it may [..]
Medical malpractice is a type of professional negligence, and it can take many different forms. For example, it may be based on a negligent action that the doctor took, or conversely, on something the doctor failed to do. However, in order to successfully hold a doctor liable for medical malpractice, you must be able [..]
Florida policyholders purchase insurance and pay premiums with the understanding that – should disaster strike – their insurer will pay out damages to compensate for losses covered in the policy. That’s the whole point of insurance! Paying out covered damages is considered to be acting in good faith on the part of the insurance company. [..]
As your teen approaches their 15th birthday, they have an exciting opportunity – the ability to get their learner’s permit. The Florida learner’s permit allows residents to start the journey toward driving – and freedom! However, in the immortal words of Uncle Ben from Spiderman (say it with us), “With great power comes great responsibility.” [..]
As a parent, you care about your child and you look out for their well-being. However, you may not be aware of which types of injuries occur the most often for Florida kids, and that’s something that can be the difference between avoiding an accident and spending time in the hospital. Children are treated every [..]
The holidays are just around the corner, and many Floridians are looking forward to getting into the holiday spirit with colorful decorations and fun family activities. However, the holidays also carry an increased risk of many kinds of injuries. On their own, holiday decorations are responsible for about 15,000 injuries annually. You probably know to [..]
Not sure which car seat is right for your child? You have an important job as a parent—providing a safe experience for your child while he or she is riding in a vehicle. Thousands of children are injured or killed in Florida car crashes each year, and the right car seat can protect your child [..]
Haunted houses are supposed to be scary. You want to jump. You want to scream. You want to be nervous about turning the next corner. What do you not want? To get hurt. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to a Michigan woman in 2014. She visited the haunted house as a patron, and a moving [..]
Every day, Florida pedestrians are injured by car drivers. Some injuries are minor, yet some can be life-threatening. In this post, we’ll tell you the types of injuries you can expect if you get hit by a car, and what you can do to fight back and get the compensation you need and deserve. Stats [..]
Bars and advertisements for alcoholic products often encourage people to “drink responsibly,” but in some cases, the establishments or bartenders serving these drinks may be at least partially liable for a patron’s alcohol-related injury or death. Under certain circumstances, bars can—and should—be held responsible for over-serving patrons. Many states have “dram shop” laws (named [..]
The death of a loved one is traumatic and devastating experience— regardless of the cause. However, the ordeal can be especially upsetting if the death could have been avoided had it not been for the negligent actions of another. In Florida, surviving family members and loved ones may be able to recover compensation for [..]
Summertime is quickly approaching, which means barbecues, family vacations, and a lot of days sitting by the pool. While you and your loved ones enjoy the hot summer weather and cool water, it is important to keep yourself safe. In this post we will be focusing on swimming pool injuries and how to prevent them. [..]
Right now, all Florida drivers are required to have car insurance coverage that pays personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, but that may come to an end in 2019 if some lawmakers get their way. Florida currently operates under a “no-fault” system when it comes to paying insurance claims after a car accident. If a [..]
When you become a parent, every little decision regarding your child’s safety and development can become a hot debate. We’re not going to tell you how to raise your child, but we do have one piece of advice backed up with statistics from the AAP and NHTSA. When you are driving with your child, [..]
School is out, but that doesn’t mean your child has to be stuck at home for the summer with no structure and nothing to do. Summer camps are a great way to keep your child active, supervised, and having fun – while also allowing them to branch out. However, summer camps come with a lot [..]
What are your chances of getting hit by someone driving a rental car in Florida? Every year, the state of Florida has 15 million active drivers on its many roads and highways. About 250,000 drivers end up in car crashes annually in Florida. Since almost 85 million visitors come to enjoy Florida every year, [..]
It’s not every day that you get into an accident and need to file a personal injury protection (PIP) suit. This type of litigation may be confusing to many, especially since PIP laws are constantly being debated and changed in Florida. However, it is possible for you to get through this process and receive [..]
Image: http://pixabay.com/en/dog-man-attacking-canine-training-78117/ When Pets Attack, They Can Cause Serious or Even Fatal Injuries Most people like dogs. How can you resist those adoring eyes, the wagging tail, and the warm, fuzzy head that seems to appear in your lap just when you’re feeling your lowest? So many Americans like dogs, in fact, that [..]
The recent death of a Tampa couple is an example of what might have been a potential product liability lawsuit had they lived. On Thanksgiving Day, Kevin and Michelle Livingston were traveling home from a visit to south Florida. Reports indicate that their sport utility vehicle drove into the waters of a canal along [..]
This law firm helped me with my car accident case and helped me to get the most of the medical benefits that were needed after the accident, and gave me fair and helpful expectations on what I would recieve back for the pain and suffering after the accident.