Safely navigating New York highways can sometimes be difficult for motorists, but self-driving cars attempt to do it by mechanical means alone. These new vehicles have no drivers, which makes them a challenge both for humans who must learn to share the roads with these robots and authorities who must learn how the law applies to cars without drivers.
Self-driving cars are programmed to be extraordinarily cautious in their operations on the road. They tend to drive more slowly than a human driver might, and there have been isolated cases where they have gotten into minor accidents that are caused by their slow speed.
In a November 2015 California incident, a self-driving car that attempted to make a turn in an intersection too slowly was hit from the rear by a human driver. The accident happened at a speed of about 4 miles per hour. Fortunately, all the accidents involving driverless cars so far have been similarly slight in nature. There have been no injuries yet reported in any wreck involving self-driving cars. Nevertheless, the manufacturers are attempting to improve their vehicles to the point where even small incidents are not an issue.
A person who has been injured in a car accident involving a driverless car may find it challenging to pinpoint responsibility. In some cases, the vehicle’s manufacturer may have been aware of a defect in the operating system but failed to correct it or warn buyers of it. Those who have been involved in such an accident may want to discuss their available legal options with a personal injury attorney.
Source: Bloomberg, “Humans Are Slamming Into Driverless Cars and Exposing a Key Flaw”, Keith Naughton, Dec. 17, 2015