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Unregulated Driverless Cars

interior of driverless car on road
July 6, 2018

Vehicle manufacturers are pushing hard toward autonomous vehicle technology. Ride-sharing services like Uber are already putting some of these vehicles on the road, and unfortunately, this has already resulted in some accidents and deaths. While the technology has promise for reducing accidents over time, the rush to implement it creates the potential for more problems in the meantime. Unless regulations are put in place, manufacturers are looking at tremendous liability risks as more vehicles hit the road.

Potential Benefits of Driverless Cars

The concept of driverless cars is still not reality. Cars that rely on programming and sensors should react more quickly and more reliably than human drivers. However, that has not proven to work. Autonomous cars will not get tired or distracted, but they malfunction and break down. They should obey traffic rules, like a green light, but if there is a car acting erratically coming into the intersection, an autonomous car cannot identify this risk, override the traffic signal and decide not to proceed through the intersection using subjective decision making processes.

Of course, theory and reality seldom connect immediately. Driverless cars will require human intervention for certain situations. Further, with sophisticated hackers in the world, autonomous cars risks having a malicious actor create problems on the road. Just as computer users learn all too often, a person attempting to override this may be unable to react to an attack unless it is too late.

Regulation Matters

The risks that come with driverless cars do not mean manufacturers should not develop or use the technology, any more than having tired or distracted drivers on the road means that no one should drive. Before these vehicles hit the highway en masse, though, regulators need to get ahead and work to protect drivers' safety. Regulators must enact security standards. Autonomous cars collect and send information constantly as part of how they function. Absent security measures, these communications can be intercepted or even taken over by someone outside of the vehicle. In the event of a malicious intervention, those traveling in or near driverless vehicles could face tremendous risks. Driverless cars should never replace the responsibility of the driver to maintain, monitor and control the car.  A drunk driver should not be allowed to get into a “driverless” car and escape liability if the car or driver do not operate properly. 

Personal Injury Compensation

If a person is injured by the fault of an automated car, the driver should still be held responsible, for the duty to maintain and operate a car, which is a dangerous instrumentality, is nondelegable. The owner of a car is liable for its negligent operation, even if it was at the fault of the computer instead of another driver. So, if the technology ever becomes better than humans in driving, it will still be the dual responsibility of the automated car and the driver to act reasonably. For example, brakes are supposed to stop when your foot presses the brake pedal.  If the brakes are bad, then the owner is responsible for failing to maintain the vehicle and liable for a crash. The same would be true with automated cars. If the car fails to stop at a stoplight, the owner is responsible for failing to maintain the vehicle or override the system and stopping the car before an accident occurs.

Anyone injured in an accident involving autonomous cars will need strong, experienced legal representation. That is where we come in. Swift, fierce, and female. We will fight for your injury compensation.

If you or someone near you has been injured in a car accident call the Law Office of Gloria Seidule. Gloria serves clients in Stuart, Port St. Lucie and Fort pierce, FL. We offer a free consultation and case evaluation. No recovery No fees. 772-287-1220

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