Pennsylvania drivers may be encountering more and more self-driving cars on the roads in the months to come. This new technology, where a robot drives a passenger automobile without any direct input or interference from a human, has proven to be very safe during test drives on highways and surface streets across America. In fact, the greatest danger to self-driving cars appears to originate with the other vehicles on the road that are controlled by humans.
Reports indicate that an autonomous car is twice as likely to get in an accident as a regular car. However, all of these accidents so far have been minor collisions.
There has yet to be a human injury reported from an accident involving a self-driving car. The accidents tend to occur because a driverless vehicle was driving or maneuvering too slowly, causing a rear-end accident or mild fender bender. Self-driving cars are designed to strictly follow all traffic laws. This poses a problem when autonomous vehicles are forced to interact with highway human drivers, most of whom drive above the speed limit.
Self-driving cars may not be able to take their full place in America’s transportation network until they can operate adequately under “human” conditions. If someone were to come to harm because of a car accident involving a driverless vehicle, or if their property was damaged in such an accident, then they would have the right to hold the manufacturer and operator of the autonomous vehicle responsible for compensation. A lawyer may be able to help a victim determine exactly how much damage has been done, prepare a civil suit, and then submit the proper paper work to court.
Source: Bloomberg, “Humans Are Slamming Into Driverless Cars and Exposing a Key Flaw,” Keith Naughton, Dec. 17, 2015