Autonomous Vehicles and Accident Liability
Technology has evolved immensely in the last decade, and more companies have been releasing their versions of autonomous cars, large trucks, and even tractors in recent years. With this advancement, it's common to question whether or not collisions caused by these vehicles remain the fault of the person sitting in the driver's seat or the AI developed by these corporations.
By looking at how this has been handled previously and what states are doing about autonomous vehicles, we can more easily understand this liability.
Is It a Shared Responsibility?
It's important to note that an individual driver's responsibility to act reasonably does not go away when self-driving features are deployed. Anyone sitting in the driver’s seat of a vehicle should remain attentive to the roadway and avoid engaging in actions that could make it harder to control the car in the case of an emergency. They also should be mindful that these features are still technically being tested and should not 100% be relied on.
Tesla, perhaps the most well-known company for its autonomous driving features, acknowledges that "Autopilot" is intended only to be used as assistance with a fully attentive driver who has hands on the wheel at all times. The company takes a step further to lock this feature for non-compliant drivers. However, not every company that is releasing “self-driving” vehicles is taking this into consideration.
2018 Self-Driving Uber Collision
After a now-infamous fatal accident involving a self-driving Uber and pedestrian in Arizona, a widespread debate was sparked in markets where these vehicles are most common. While both Uber and the "safety driver" who was behind the wheel at the time of the collision are currently undergoing criminal charges, blame was placed on several parties, including the state of Arizona and the victim who was jaywalking at the time.
Are Laws Being Enacted Regarding Self-Driving Vehicles?
At this time, no state has a definitive answer for a singular party that should be held liable in these cases. However, many are looking to enact legislation that would require the testing and operations of autonomous vehicles to be closely monitored, especially for companies looking to use driverless options.
California, one of the first few states to allow autonomous vehicles on the road, recently approved permits to enable companies to provide driverless services to the general public. While the state has not yet definitively established laws regarding accident liability involving these vehicles, this could develop in the coming years.
Los Angeles Car Accident Attorneys
When another individual's actions (or inaction) cause you to sustain an injury, you deserve to hold the responsible parties accountable. Our Agoura Hills attorneys can help ensure your rights are protected.
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