Self-driving Car Accidents
Since automobiles became available to Americans in the early 20th century, they have continually evolved. The latest trend is self-driving vehicles. Although self-driving cars are still in the early testing stages, and are even illegal in many states, they are already making the news. Unfortunately, many of those news stories are related to car accidents.
Self-driving car accidents can be just as catastrophic as any other type of car wreck, but they are further complicated by liability concerns. Who is at-fault if a car is driving itself? Car accident lawyer Roger “Rocky” Walton helps accident victims in the Arlington, TX, area determine liability for collisions involving these types of vehicles, so that they can be compensated for accident damages.
Self-driving Car Accident in Texas
Texas has recently been at the center of the self-driving car debate as the result of a fatal accident that took place in Woodlands, TX in April of 2021. The Wall Street Journal reported that two men died in the crash, when the vehicle (a Tesla) went off the road and crashed into a tree. According to reports, authorities believe that no one was in the driver’s seat at the time of the accident. Instead, it is suspected that one man was in the passenger seat, and the second man was in the back seat. Authorities were investigating whether the vehicle’s advanced driver-assistance system was enabled at the time of the crash.
How Autonomous Are Self-driving Cars?
The recent Texas self-driving car crash, and others like it, bring up concerns about how autonomous self-driving cars really are. The fact is that, despite being referred to as “self-driving” or “autopilot” systems, these vehicles are not meant to be operated without an attentive driver, at least not currently. Even Tesla’s more advanced “full self-driving system” is not meant to operate completely on its own.
The Wall Street Journal quotes a statement made on Tesla’s website, “Autopilot and full self-driving capability are intended for use with a fully attentive driver, who has their hands on the wheel and is prepared to take over at any moment.” Despite this statement, many argue that the terms used by self-driving car manufacturers can be misleading, giving drivers a false sense of confidence that increases the risk of self-driving car accidents.
Liability for Self-driving Car Accidents
Since self-driving cars are new to the market, there are not a lot of precedents that can be relied on when determining liability for self-driving car crashes. However, Rocky Walton believes that it is important to consider all potentially liable parties, which includes vehicle drivers and vehicle manufacturers, when seeking accident damages for his Arlington clients.
As stated, a driver is responsible for staying alert and being prepared to take control of a self-driving vehicle, if the need arises. Because of this, drivers of self-driving vehicles can be held liable if they cause an accident by their own failure, or by neglecting to take control of a vehicle that is in autopilot function.
Automobile manufacturers may also be held at least partially liable for self-driving accident damages, depending on the details of the collision. If a vehicle malfunction caused the accident, or if the manufacturer failed to properly advertise the limitations of an autopilot system, they may hold some responsibility for a collision and resulting damages.
If you have been injured in a car crash, it is important to work with a knowledgeable attorney who will fight to get you maximum compensation for damages. Attorney Roger “Rocky” Walton is just the lawyer you need. To find out how we can help you after a collision, send us a message online, or call our Arlington law firm at (817) 429-4299.