ALEXANDRIA, Louisiana. Self-driving cars had, until very recently, been celebrated as the next technological step to make roadways safer. Many experts claim that the cars could be safer than human drivers. After a pedestrian was struck by a self-driving vehicle in Arizona recently, some critics and safety experts have shown concern about the safety of these vehicles. Yet, despite the accident, many experts continue to believe that self-driving cars will be ultimately safer than drivers. Drivers are prone to making many errors behind the wheel. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2015 alone 3,477 people were killed due to distracted driving and another 391,000 people were injured. Distracted driving includes many different types of risky driving behaviors, including texting and driving, checking a map while on the road, or eating while driving. These numbers don’t account for the many people who are hurt or killed due to human error behind the wheel. Many believe that self-driving cars might be able to limit the number of people hurt due to human error. Driverless car companies continue to do research and the jury is still out about whether driverless cars, as they exist now, are safer than people.
Yet, according to one writer for the New York Times, the safety and experience one might have in a self-driving car might vary from company to company. With each company developing the technology at their own pace, some companies may be safer than others, with consequences for people behind the wheel and on the road. It seems that as some companies see bad press for accidents, other companies are pulling ahead of the pack. The Times reports that Google wants to increase its fleet by 20,000 vehicles. That’s a lot of driverless cars possibly on the road. Google claims it wants to see its driverless cars take one million trips per day by 2020. This could completely change the way Americans drive and travel. It could also raise questions about driverless car safety and about what will happen when, and if, accidents take place.
It isn’t clear what impact the recent accident will have on personal injury law, insurance, and regulation. What is clear is that personal injury lawyers like the Jones Law Firm in Alexandria, Louisiana are watching closely to see what the next steps will be. Victims of any car accident, whether caused by a human or robot, should be able to enjoy equal protections under the law. In a typical car accident, victims are entitled to seek damages for their medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages. Victims of driverless cars may someday make similar claims, but possibly due to defective products, rather than making claims against negligent drivers. The future remains uncertain. If you have been hurt in a car accident in Alexandria, Louisiana due to the actions of another negligent driver, you have rights. The Jones Law Firm in Alexandria, Louisiana may be able to help.