A Cautionary Tale for Self-Driving Cars

A Cautionary Tale for Self-Driving Cars

If you have read national news in the past few weeks, you probably heard about the fatal self-driving Uber car accident in Tempe, Arizona, that killed a pedestrian. It is thought to be the first fatality caused by a fully autonomous vehicle.

As self-driving cars become more common, it will be important for drivers and pedestrians to understand the risks and issues involved with these controversial vehicles. They will likely become more prevalent on Georgia roads in the coming years, and it is possible you could even be involved in an accident with one.

What Happened in the Crash?

A self-driving Uber Volvo SUV ran over a 49-year-old woman in Tempe as she was walking her bike across a road in mid-March 2018.  Preliminary accident information from local police found the car was going 40 mph in a 35 mph zone. The 44-year-old Uber test driver was behind the wheel when the crash occurred, but he was not driving. It appears the vehicle did not brake before hitting the woman.

Why Was a Driver in the Car?

The car was in its autonomous mode when the fatal accident happened. This means the car was driving under the control of its computer. During such tests, a live driver sits behind the wheel as a precaution.

Police said there was no evidence the driver was impaired.

What Is Uber Doing After the Accident?

Uber stated last month it has suspended the testing of self-driving vehicles in the U.S. and Canada. It has conducted such tests in Arizona, Pittsburgh, Toronto and other metro areas. Uber also stated it is cooperating with the police in the investigation.

Uber has grounded other vehicles after an accident involving self-driving cars. Uber briefly suspended operation of self-driving cars after one flipped on its side in Tempe.

Why Arizona?

Arizona is one of the states where Uber has been conducting self-driving car tests. The Arizona governor has signed an executive order that allows self-driving vehicles to drive on roads in the state, even without a test driver. Also, Arizona has generally good weather, and is a good testing ground for self-driving vehicles.

Waymo is a self-driving part of Google and it recently launched a self-driving car service in Phoenix. GM and Intel are also conducting such tests in Arizona.

What Are the Liability Ramifications For Self-Driving Car Accidents?

There currently are six levels of driving automation, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Society of Automotive Engineers. Zero means total human control, and six is fully autonomous and self-driving. Last year USA Today reported that the level of automation of self-driving vehicles is now at a two or below. Anything that is below level three would most likely find the human driver or occupant of the vehicle liable. This would apply to both personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits in Georgia and other parts of the country.

Were You Injured In a Car Accident? Speak with an Attorney Today.

The Mann Law Firm knows how to assist Macon and Middle Georgia citizens who have been in car accidents, including accidents involving self-driving vehicles. Our experienced personal injury attorneys can help you to get the compensation you deserve for your car accident injuries. Please reach out to us today for a complimentary legal consultation.