Are Self-Driving Vehicles Safer?
In the U.S., summertime can be a dangerous period for drivers. Whether venturing on vacation or traveling to outdoor barbecues and parties, most people spend more time on the road during the summer than any other time of the year.
In fact, the AAA Traffic Safety Foundation claims that the period between Labor Day and Memorial Day is particularly hazardous for young drivers.
Self-Driving Disaster? When Google first introduced self-driving cars, many people thought that they were bound to cause accidents. Moreover, in the event of an accident, who should bear legal responsibility?
However, as events transpired, self-driving cars are often on the receiving end of accidents rather than causing accidents.
On the evening of July 1, several Google staff members were injured in their self-driving car when they were hit from behind while sitting in traffic.
The car, which was a Lexus SUV, which was equipped with Google’s self-driving technology, cameras, and sensors, had stopped at a green traffic light in Mountain View, CA, due to traffic at an intersection.
Another vehicle, approaching from behind, rear-ended the Google car at seventeen miles per hour.
Man or Machine? Aside from several minor injuries, the Google staff members survived. In this situation, accountability for the accident lies firmly at the feet of man rather than machine.
Indeed, an accident injury attorney would argue that the self-driving car braked in a natural way, and that the car behind had more than enough stopping distance; therefore, it appears that the human driver was not paying attention to the road.
Going the Extra Mile. From their first “test drive” in 2009, Google’s self-driving vehicles have driven over one million miles. To date, other motorists have hit these vehicles fourteen times (eleven of these accidents were rear-end collisions).
There hasn’t been a single accident caused by a self-driving vehicle on record to date. Rather, the overriding trend is driver error, caused mostly by distracted driving.
So will self-driving vehicles be the reason for driving down the shockingly high accident rate? It’s possible. Self-driving vehicles already show us that they are considerably safer than human operators.
This is hardly surprising, given that self-driving vehicles can monitor dozens of objects simultaneously, in every direction, and (unlike people) they never get distracted, tired or annoyed.