Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers: Driverless Cars Have Higher Crash RatesJanuary 6, 2016
Once considered a futuristic idea, self-driving cars are becoming increasingly mainstream. Experts predict that nearly 10 million cars with self-driving features will be on the road by 2020. The makers of these high-tech vehicles promise they will save thousands of lives each year by preventing car accidents caused by human error or negligence. But according to a recent study on current driverless car crash rates, more work needs to be done to make these vehicles safer to share the road with human drivers.
Researchers at the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute found self-driving cars have a crash rate twice as high as regular vehicles. The reason behind this surprising statistic has to do with the way other human drivers interact with the cars. Robot-driven cars are programmed to obey every traffic law – all the time. While this may sound like a good idea in theory, it does not always work in real-life road conditions, such as when the car tries to merge onto a busy highway with traffic racing by at speeds well above the posted limit.
Most drivers are not accustomed to the ultra-cautious way self-driving cars operate, thus creating a potential hazard. The study found that human error was the cause of every crash involving self-driving cars thus far. Most of these crashes happened when an impatient or inattentive driver rear-ended the robo-car when it was traveling at a speed of five miles per hour or less. Another issue with self-driving cars is the extreme speed with which they react to certain road conditions. For example, a driverless car will quickly come to a stop if it senses a pedestrian is about to step into traffic. This can take other drivers by surprise, especially if they were following too closely.
The study findings have opened up debate over how to address this thorny issue. While most contend that autonomous vehicles should always obey traffic laws, others argue that under certain circumstances, some minor infractions may be necessary. Legislators have already begun to weigh in on the issue. Lawmakers in California are proposing a rule that would require a human to always be ready to take over the controls of their self-driving vehicle. Google is fighting back against the proposal. In 2014, Google unveiled a prototype of a driverless car that comes without a steering wheel or pedals. The company is planning to make its self-driving cars unit a stand-alone business by next year and will eventually offer a ride-for-hire service.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Keep Current on New Technology Designed to Improve Highway Safety
As new vehicle technology is introduced, the laws regarding who can be held liable in the event of a car accident will likely evolve. At LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, our Maryland car accident lawyers are on the cutting edge of the law and how it affects those in our community. We combine our extensive experience and superior knowledge to obtain the best results for our clients. To discuss your case with one of our seasoned Baltimore car accident lawyers, call 800-547-4LAW (4529) today to schedule a free consultation. A qualified member of our legal team is available to take your call 24 hours a day or you can always contact us online.
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