We have discussed the possibilities of self-driving cars in previous posts: cars that swerve to avoid accidents, the use high-tech sensors to detect dangers before you could, and hyper-advanced systems that could get you from A to B without touching the wheel. What happens though when something goes wrong? How will we hold drivers accountable when we are dependent on this technology to prevent accidents? How will laws and regulations have to keep up to ensure that drivers are still held accountable?
Advancements in vehicle technology have proven to keep consumers and other motorists on the road safe. While most drivers are interested in advancements that can make roads safer, no one would be interested in technology that lets drivers off the hook. Our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys are dedicated to keeping Florida motorists safe. We are abreast of developments in vehicle safety and want to shed light on the potential problems that could arise with self-driving cars in the event of an accident or injury.
Currently, lawmakers have been weighing the need for guidelines involving the quickly up-and-coming self-driving vehicle technology. If there is no driver in a self-driving motor vehicle accident, who is liable for the collision and injuries to the passengers and other motorists on the road? Is it possible that the company responsible for the technology could be held accountable for any injuries? There are other possibilities in blaming the car owner for failing to take control or holding the manufacturer liable. But the question remains, how will liability be accounted for in the event of accidents with self-driving automobiles?
Technology often advances ahead of the law and it is up to individuals, lobbyists, organizations, and legislators to take action. For now, there isn’t enough case law or history to start to identify the cause of accident and injury. All that we know for certain is that someday, there will be fully driverless cars that can take you from home to work with only the push of a button. Most experts currently agree that we are years away from this technology, but we should consider the legal ramifications of such advancements.
Florida is one of only three states that has already passed laws concerning self-driving cars. Last year, Florida’s legislature gave its motor-vehicle agency until the year 2014 to prepare a full report on the self-driving cars, in hopes to pave way for upcoming legislation. An amendment to the law exempts the original maker from liability if injuries result from a modification to a self-driving vehicle. Currently, Nevada is the only state that has developed rules to govern driverless vehicles on the road. These rules also apply when legally testing them on state roads. Nevada has yet to approve the vehicles for anything but test drives.
It is unlikely that the driverless cars will be on the road anytime soon. But it is worth considering driver responsibility and liability involving accidents. Legal uncertainties could be sorted out once there is a viable product on the market. Until then, drivers in Florida should keep in mind that even with advancements in technology, they must remain alert and responsible when behind the wheel.
If you or someone you love was injured in an accident, contact Freeman Injury Law at 1-800-561-7777 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
More Blog Entries:
West Palm Beach Rollover Accident Sends 2 Children to Hospital, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, October 2, 2013
Child Passenger Safety Week to Protect Our Youngest Motorists, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, September 26, 2013