What Happens if Someone Gets Hit by a Self Driving Car?
Self driving cars are no longer a dream from the future, or a rarity that can only be seen in Silicon Valley. Technology and new policies are making it more likely for more self driving cars to hit the streets.
Self driving cars promise to be safer for pedestrians and motorists, and may even reduce traffic deaths by 90% once wide-scale deployment occurs. However, accidents can still occur. Knowing more about what happens if someone gets hit by a self driving car is a smart investment.
Self Driving Cars in America
Self driving cars are now becoming more and more common in America. There are self driving Ubers in Pittsburgh, for example, and state legislation in Michigan now allows self driving cars on public roads.
The Self Drive Act or H.R. 3388, was recently passed by the House of Representatives. The act aims to advance safety by prioritizing the protection of consumers. It will also outline the role and responsibilities of the governments at the federal and state level, to update the federal motor vehicle safety standards, and to maximize opportunities for relevant research.
If this new bill passes into law, hundreds of thousands of self driving cars can be added to roads in America over the next few years. More concrete regulations and procedural guidelines in place will streamline the development and growth of the self driving car industry. Manufacturers like Volvo, Toyota, and Honda all plan to enter the market by 2020.
Some states like Michigan already have existing regulations on self driving cars. Yet without a federal law in place and a standardized regulation concerning liability, what happens if someone gets hit by an autonomous vehicle is still be up for debate.
Accidents Involving Self Driving Cars
In most accidents involving self driving cars, liability was not assigned automatically to the car manufacturer. If someone gets hit, the accident is assessed and investigated by local police similar to how accidents with manned cars are.
In several cases, investigation clears the self-driving car. An example would be an accident involving a self-driving Uber in Arizona in early 2017. The Uber was following its programmed protocols, driving through an intersection at yellow light with constant speed. Unfortunately, a car coming from the other side was making an unanticipated turn. The Uber employee overseeing the self driving car was not fast enough to take control of the car and apply the brakes.
These instances prove that while people might be able to manage an incoming crisis and avert a disaster better, there is nothing inherently wrong with self driving cars.
In the future, liability may be assigned to the manufacturer if there was clearly a problem with the software involved. Otherwise, what happens in accidents involving self driving cars is the same as in other accidents.
Investigations consider witness accounts, information logged by the self driving car, traffic video or dash cam footage, and other forms of evidence.
Manufacturers have been divided on their stance on what happens if someone gets hit by a self driving car. Tesla says that responsibility would be up to the individual’s insurance, unless the accident was caused by an intrinsic defect in the car’s design. Volvo previously said that they would take full liability for any of its cars in autonomous mode.
Insurers and other companies are similarly still debating on the topic. A federal framework on self driving car regulation would hopefully lead to some clarity in the future, for everyone’s safety.
Safety and Self Driving Cars
Ultimately, liability in accidents with self driving cars would be thoroughly investigated according to protocol. Have you or someone you know been hit by a self driving car? An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you with your case and assist you in claiming for damages. Call Matt Fleming today for an appointment.