Indeed, self-driving cars are the future of transportation. They’re safer, more efficient, and environmentally friendly. However, they still aren’t immune to mishaps, as they’ve already proven. Therefore, you have to consider some consequences of using this new technology.
While you might assume Google is an at-fault party if a crash occurs, you still have to look beyond that too. Exploring the legalities and realities will keep you focused on your responsibilities as a driverless operator or passenger, or a pedestrian, driver, or cyclist if struck by a driverless auto.
Because self-driving car is a relatively new technology, the laws governing them are still developing. However, it’s generally accepted that the manufacturer of the self-driving car is liable for any injuries caused by the car. This means that if you’re injured in a self-driving car or by a driverless vehicle, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the car’s manufacturer.
However, things aren’t necessarily that cut-and-dried. Determining the at-fault party may also include looking into who programmed the software or at any governmental entity that approved the use of the car on the highway.
Also, who you sue depends on the type of accident claim. For example, a car might crash into a pedestrian because its sensors failed to detect the injured party. This is where you’d have to sort out whether the manufacturer or software programmer is at fault.
In some cases, the vehicle might get into an accident because of a defect in its hardware. Would the at-fault party be the entity that approved the car’s use or the manufacturer, or both?
The self-driving car has been legal since 2017 in Texas. Since that year, the Lone Star State has passed two laws that involve driverless vehicles. According to Texas legislation, self-driving cars must feature a linked braking system – a system that keeps a safe distance between the car and other cars on the road.
Also, the operator of the car must, at least, have remote control of the car and be licensed in Texas to operate it. Therefore, a driver is not required to be behind the wheel when the car is in operation.
Those are two laws currently in effect. Obviously, new laws still need to be enacted, so all the potential parties are held accountable. In addition, you cannot completely remove the human element when it comes to operating a driverless vehicle. For example, the human owner of the car is still obligated to perform regular maintenance.
Can he or she manipulate the car’s speed or change its safety settings? You also have to consider who controls the route the car drives as well as consider weather and road conditions, including visibility.
Whether you’re injured inside a self-driving car or are struck by this type of vehicle, you need to speak to a self-driving auto accident attorney right away.
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