A Car Accident Lawyer Delves into the Upcoming Laws on Self-Driving Vehicles
If you think car accident laws are complicated now, imagine how much more confusing it would be when self-driving cars become the norm on the streets.
Just how safe are self-driving vehicles?
Experts predict that by 2030, fully autonomous vehicles will account for 60% of all vehicles produced and sold in the country, easily overtaking the human-driven vehicles we have today.
According to analysts who specialize in the development of self-driving vehicles, safety-conscious consumers and pedestrians stand to benefit greatly from this transition. As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data shows, 94% of fatal car accidents were caused by human error rather than technical issues. In fact, accidents that involve self-driving vehicles are often caused by distracted human drivers (e.g., texting / taking a selfie while driving, drunk driving) and not by a glitch in its system.
How will car accident laws be affected by self-driving vehicles?
Most self-driving vehicles in the market (and out on the road) today fall under the partially automated category. This means that a human “driver” is still required to be behind the wheel even if the vehicle is set to autopilot. Keep in mind that the presence of a human driver has nothing to do with the vehicle’s capability to safely navigate roads using its on-board technology, but simply for car manufacturers to abide by current state laws.
In California for example, state laws require owners of self-driving vehicles to have their hands on the steering wheel at all times to be allowed in public roads. So, if it gets into an accident, the responsibility clearly lies on the driver.
Future Legislations in Oklahoma
Soon, a car accident lawyer in places like Oklahoma City will have to negotiate settlements involving self-driving vehicles too, as city officials predict that in the next four to five years, autonomous vehicles will soon be showing up on the streets. In preparation, the city is already starting testing of self-driving vehicles in Pittsburgh. While laying out complementary legislative measures such as Oklahoma House Bill 3007, which requests the Department of Public Safety to come up with guidelines, rules, and penalties on self-driving vehicles to assure drivers, pedestrians, and manufacturers of their rights.
Meanwhile, manufacturers of self-driving cars are more than willing to take full liability only for fully automated vehicles involved in car accidents. Guided by the simple logic that with human error out of the equation, it’s inevitably the car’s technology’s fault, and will potentially be tried as a product liability lawsuit.
While car accident laws are still playing catch up with self-driving vehicle technology, someone must still be held responsible for accidents and resulting injuries due to these vehicles. Should you get injured by self-driving cars or if you have been involved in an accident through no fault of your own, consult with a personal injury lawyer.
Who’s Responsible When a Self-Driving Car Crashes?, Scientificamerican.com,
Self-Driving Cars Will Be Ready Before Our Laws Are, Spectrum.ieee.org,