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Accidents and autonomous vehicles


Accidents and autonomous vehicles

Technology in cars is evolving at a swift pace. Self-driving or autonomous vehicles are rolling off assembly lines and onto roads across the country. How safe are they?

According to statistics, self-driving automobiles are susceptible to crashes. Crash rates in these vehicles are higher, though the accidents are less severe than those caused by driver-helmed vehicles. What does this mean for the future of autonomous driving? Discover what may cause crashes to increase and the legal implications to other drivers.

Why are autonomous vehicles crashing?

As of now, most cars do not drive themselves. However, many newer models have automatic braking should the sensors anticipate a collision. Even so, crashes may occur because computers lack human judgment. The sensors may only work if a crash is imminent, meaning the vehicles are close. A driver can see much further ahead and make changes early to avoid impact. An autonomous vehicle will not make this same correction. Even though crashes involving self-driving cars happen, the speeds are often much slower, resulting in fewer injuries.

Can an insurer find an autonomous vehicle responsible for a crash?

When an accident occurs, it is up to the insurance companies to figure out who is responsible. What happens when the vehicle that caused the accident was driving itself? This may appear like a veritable legal minefield, but it is not. The car is still under the control of a human driver, even if that person was not at the controls when the crash occurred. Thus, that driver is still found responsible for causing the accident regardless.

Autonomous vehicles sound good when it comes to relieving the burden on drivers. However, there is no substitute for the human element required of driving safely.