When you envision self-driving cars in your mind, what do you think of? If you are like many people, you think of cars that are impervious to accidents and even speeding tickets. After all, a computer is driving and computers are smarter than humans. Or are they?
Google is currently testing prototypes of self-driving cars on the roads and highways of California and Texas. While they do drive themselves, humans are still required to be behind the wheel and ready to take over in case of emergency. These Level 3 vehicles are expected to be replaced in the near future by Level 4 vehicles, or those that are designed to be completely autonomous.
While these cars are certainly the talk of the town, they raise questions in the minds of drivers and legislators. What constitutes a driver? Who is to blame if a self-driving car is involved in an accident? These are just two of the most common questions posed. Google’s cars have been involved in 13 minor crashes this year. In one, the car was in manual mode, prompting questions of ultimate liability.
In South Carolina, students have been given financial backing to create self-driving golf carts. At the University of South Carolina, an article was written claiming that forcing people to accept liability for accidents caused by driverless cars effectively defeats the purpose of the technology.
What lawmakers are concerned about, ultimately, is that sitting inside of a self-driving car will lull operators into a false sense of security. Even though a person’s hands don’t have to be on the wheel and eyes don’t have to be on the road, people still do need to pay attention to controls and data systems to be sure that their car is operating properly. They also must know how to correct any errors.
In 94% of all accidents on the road, operator error is found to be the cause. While it is expected that the number of accidents can be greatly reduced when a human driver is taken out of the equation, it is certain that accidents will still occur. Who or what will be found liable in those accidents is something that must still be sorted out among lawmakers.
If you are involved in a car accident in South Carolina, call our offices. We are here to offer you a free case evaluation as you begin to put your life back together. Call now.