Self-driving Cars and Auto Accidents By Greg Burton on October 10, 2020

A crashed car and tow truck Part of the interest in self-driving cars is the belief that they are safer than cars driven by people and will result in fewer accidents and fatalities. Unfortunately, as self-driving cars have been tested on the roads, there have been several accidents.

Because self-driving car technology is new and evolving, laws have not caught up. This can make navigating a personal injury claim from an accident with a self-driving car complicated. A car accident attorney can help.

Attorneys Randy Akin and Greg Burton take some time to consider self-driving cars and auto accidents in Longview, TX, and surrounding areas.

Self-driving Cars Are Already On the Road

Self-driving cars, also called autonomous cars, are cars that do not need a human driver to control and operate the vehicle. However, many current autonomous cars are not fully self-driving but rather have a range of autonomy that require more or less human input.

True self-driving cars are not currently available for consumers to buy, but that does not mean that autonomous cars aren't already on the road. In fact, several cities across the United States are serving as testing sites for self-driving cars.

Although Longview isn't part of a self-driving testing program, Austin is, which means some Texans are already sharing the road with autonomous vehicles.

Accidents Involving Self-driving Cars

In theory, self-driving cars should be safer than cars driven by humans since it eliminates human error, human recklessness, and could help prevent intoxicated drivers from driving. Unfortunately, today's self-driving cars have not eliminated the risk of accidents and, sadly, several self-driving car accidents have made headlines in recent years.

Notable incidents have involved Tesla's AutoPilot and Uber's self-driving car. In one of the Tesla incidents, a driver was using the vehicle's semi-autonomous driving feature. The vehicle ended up colliding with a concrete barrier, resulting in the driver's death. The incident involving an Uber's self-driving car resulted in the death of a pedestrian who was jaywalking and not recognized by the car's safety features.

In both incidents, the drivers were playing a game or watching a video on their phone, entirely relying on the autonomous driving features of their vehicles. This leads to the question: who's liable in a self-driving car accident?

Who Is Liable in an Accident Caused By a Self-driving Car?

Ideally, self-driving cars will prevent accidents, but the technology isn't there yet. Unfortunately, self-driving car accidents have already led to fatalities and serious injuries.

Self-driving cars are still in their infancy and laws have not entirely caught up. Currently, backup drivers are required to sit behind the wheel of a self-driving car. In the event of a self-driving car-accident, the backup driver is generally held liable.

However, if the accident occurred due to a software malfunction or flaw within the self-driving functions of the vehicle and the backup driver took appropriate action, it may be possible to hold the vehicle manufacturer or software company liable.

Schedule a Consultation

Determining liability in a self-driving car accident can be complex, which is why you need attorneys Randy Akin and Greg Burton on your side. If you live in or around Longview and have been injured in a car accident, please call (903) 297-8929 to schedule a private consultation

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Randy Akin and Greg Burton

G.R. Akin, P.C.

Randy Akin and Greg Burton have more than 50 years of combined experience. They are affiliated with several professional associations, including:

  • Texas Bar Foundation
  • State Bar of Texas
  • Gregg County Bar Association

Contact us online to ask a question or call us at (903) 297-8929.

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