Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers: Safety and Semi-Autonomous Cars

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Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Compensation for Car Accident VictimsAs the technology surrounding autonomous and semi-autonomous cars continues to develop, so do the questions and concerns about the overall safety of these vehicles. This new technology is being introduced for the first time so some of the concern likely stems from a general fear of the unknown. However, a new study suggests that it may be the result of human intervention, rather than the vehicle itself, that could cause potential problems on the road.

Semi-autonomous vehicles allow the driver to regain control of the car in a potentially dangerous situation. A recent study by researchers from Southampton University in the United Kingdom found that during a series of controlled test drives, it was not the technology of the vehicle that failed to function properly. Rather, it was the slow reaction time of the driver that was a cause for concern.

Study Overview

The study was entitled, “Takeover Time in Highly Automated Vehicles: Noncritical Transitions to and From Manual Control.” Researchers observed 26 men and women between the ages of 20 and 52 in a simulated autonomous driving scenario traveling at 70 miles per hour. They measured the drivers’ reaction times under each of the following conditions:  a) driver only had to focus on driving; or b) driver was asked to read a newspaper, allowing the car to do the driving.

While riding in the car, the passengers were told to take over control of the semi-autonomous vehicle at random intervals ranging from 30 to 45 seconds.

Not surprisingly, drivers who were distracted by the newspaper took longer to respond, but even the drivers who were focused on the road took an average of 4.56 seconds to react. Almost five full seconds is more than enough time for a serious car accident to occur. Surprisingly, some of the drivers in the study took as long as 25 seconds to take control of the vehicle. By the time the driver reacts, it could be too late to avoid a serious collision causing severe injuries to him or herself and others on the road.

When the drivers in the study were stressed during the transition into taking over control of the vehicle, it was more likely that they would swerve into another lane or hit the brakes too suddenly. According to a researcher from Southampton University, when drivers do not have an adequate lead time it is more difficult to respond appropriately. Overall, the results showed that semi-autonomous driving is not as intuitive as one might expect.

Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Compensation for Car Accident Victims

If you have been seriously injured in a car accident involving a semi-autonomous vehicle, you are urged to contact the experienced Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. With any new technology, there is often confusion as to how the laws will be enforced in the event of an accident. We can help you navigate the legal process and secure the optimal financial compensation that you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.