Many people have been holding their breath for the arrival of driverless cars. As of today, driverless cars are still being tested for their roadworthiness, but it looks like driverless cars will keep on improving and therefore will be around for some time. However, before we reach to that point, we all need to think about what happens when a driverless car gets into an accident. Jay Solnick of Keep Highways Safe, a website dedicated to road safety, thinks that litigation over supposed malfunction in driverless cars would certainly happen once driverless cars become more common. After all, it is safe to say that many car owners would choose to switch to driverless cars if they become safer and cheaper. As many people know, the biggest reason for car crashes is human error. Driverless cars would make driving much safer and dramatically reduce the number of fatal crash crashes.
Would Driverless Cars Litigation Stick?
In a litigious society like in the US, its people can expect driverless cars companies to get sued when accidents regarding their autonomous vehicles occur. However, success would be decided on the grounds of if the driver thought the autopilot feature was more capable than in reality and if the driver was given enough warning about the system’s possible flaws. Most autonomous vehicles companies would probably claim that the accident would be the driver’s fault if the driver could be proven to have ignored safety features. For example, Tesla actually requires human drivers to have their hands on the vehicle wheel all the time. Failure to do so could be seen as “ignoring safety features”. Tesla has claimed that its drivers had driven autonomous cars for more than 130 million miles. This translates to 0.78 fatalities per 100 million miles. These numbers look good when compared to federal data recording 1.12 deaths for the same mileage.
Some Notable Tesla Driverless Cars Crashes
A serious accident involving a self driving Tesla car occurred in the summer, July. It happened on the Pennsylvania Turnpike about 100 miles from Pittsburgh. Luckily, the driver survived the crash, but now Tesla cannot make sure whether it was the driver or the autopilot system was in control when the crash happens. A fatality actually occurred when a man’s Tesla autopilot system failed to recognize a white tractor crossing a road under a bright sky. The driver, Joshua Brown was actually a big fan of the company and was known for posting YouTube videos showing his own Tesla car operating on autopilot mode. In many of these video clips, Joshua Brown was seen taking his hands off the steering wheel, a direct violation of Tesla’s safety procedure. Tesla actually insists that all drivers in autonomous vehicles should still try to remain alert enough to step on the car brakes or turn the steering wheel if the car sensors fail to pick up and register an oncoming threat to safety. Even with the occurrence of crashes involving driverless cars, these autonomous vehicles are here to stay.