If you follow the news, then you’re probably aware that self-driving cars are starting to become more prevalent as car companies test them for the potential for wide distribution. Although many of these companies tout the safety of driverless cars, they are not without their flaws. Even those vehicles that have a very small rate of error can pose a threat to other motorists. When these driverless cars malfunction, they may fail to swerve or slow in an attempt to avoid a collision, which can mean that the accidents that they cause can be quite significant.
One of these wrecks occurred earlier this year here in Arizona that left a 49-year-old woman dead. In that instance, an experimental self-driving car being utilized by Uber failed to detect the woman as she crossed the road, and even failed to slow before hitting her. A new report indicates that the vehicle’s software, which had been tuned to ignore certain objects in the road to prevent stopping for innocuous items like plastic bags, was rendered to insensitive. It therefore detected the woman as a false-positive and thus something to ignore.
The wreck is still under investigation by the NTSB and NHTSA, and other companies that utilize self-driving cars are reassessing their practices as well. But, that does little to help those who have already been harmed by these vehicles. Fortunately, in the case above, Uber quickly reached a settlement with the victim’s family. However, this outcome likely would not have been reached without the threat of legal action.
Therefore, those who have been affected by a car accident caused by a self-driving vehicle should carefully consider their legal options. Doing so could result in the recovery of compensation for damages, but it could also help raise awareness of the dangers posed by these vehicles and why it is important to ensure that they are completely safe before flooding the marketplace.