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Could self-driving cars lead to more safety or more lawsuits?

On Behalf of | Sep 7, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Automated Vehicles (AVs), for many, seem like something in the distant future. However, motorists are already sharing the roads with AVs. These real-world experiments are starting to produce some statistics that illustrate both the increased safety and liability. 

People have learned the hard way that technology is not infallible. Accidents have occurred with AVs that resulted in injuries and death. The legal system is scrambling to overcome the complexities of entering into a new age where human involvement is decreased or eliminated. As technology replaces humans, people may increasingly be asking the question, “Who can I sue?” 

Accidents and AVs

There have been numerous accidents involving cars that have automated technology. Here are a few examples:

  • Uber self-driving cars had 37 minor accidents before the first recorded pedestrian fatality with an AV on November 20th, 2018. 
  • Tesla Model S and Model 3 caused three fatal accidents while in autopilot mode. These took place in 2016 and 2019. Tesla’s autopilot technology had been used for 130 million recorded miles on the road before it resulted in its first fatality.
  • Google’s Waymo recorded 18 minor accidents between 2019 and into the first nine months of 2020.

When comparing AV’s driving record to human performance, it is clear that technology does a better job behind the wheel. However, it is not perfect nor accident-free. In fact, AVs get in more minor accidents with 9.1 crashes per million miles driven, compared to humans at 4.1 crashes per million miles. However, the accidents that involved AVs were more minor in nature than those with normal vehicles with human drivers. 

When considering auto accidents that result in wrongful death and catastrophic injuries, whether they result from human or technological errors, victims need to learn their legal options for compensation.