Self-driving, or autonomous, cars are no longer a concept belonging to a distant future. In fact, they are already here and will likely begin to hit the mass market within the next few years. If these autonomous cars cause an accident, however, how will fault be determined? It is a pressing question now that their presence on the road is no longer a question of “if,” but rather “when.”
Tackling the Issue of Liability
Tesla CEO, Elon Musk has already commented on this question, offering a clear opinion on the issue. He stated that the company would not be liable if there were an accident with one of their cars while in self-driving mode, unless it appears to be endemic to their design. Musk believes that autonomous vehicles should be viewed much like an elevator. Otis does not take responsibility for all elevators and, according to Musk, Tesla should not take responsibility for all of their self-driving vehicles.
Volvo, on the other hand, has a contrary opinion on the issue. They stated that Volvo would take full liability for any accidents cause by their cars while in autonomous mode. While both companies seem to have definite thoughts on the matter, auto insurers are not entirely sure who should be held liable in such cases.
Fatal Crashes Have Already Occurred
In May 2016, a fatal accident involving Tesla’s semiautonomous car rose concerns about the safety of driverless cars. The accident occurred when the vehicle did not use its automatic braking system due to a failure to detect a tractor-trailer that came from two lanes away and turned in front of it. Tesla stated that the accident was not the fault of its vehicle’s autopilot system. However, there were other Tesla crashes that same year, one in the Netherlands and another in China.
It is possible that such accidents might not have occurred at all if the models were fully autonomous. Semiautomatic vehicles are intended to operate in limited circumstances and still rely on a driver to make safe decisions.
Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys in Pennsylvania
Even when good drivers operate their vehicles safely, they cannot avoid accidents if others on the road choose to drive negligently. If you have been injured in an auto accident due to the reckless actions of another driver, it is crucial to seek skilled and experienced representation. At Anthony Urban Law Offices, P.C., we are here to fight for compensation on behalf of victims of car accidents. You should not have to pay for someone else’s poor choices.