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Autonomous Cars Will Not Make Accidents a Thing of the Past

by  on  Car Accidents & Motor Vehicle Collisions

Self-driving technology is already promising to change the way that people get from Point A to Point B. As autonomous driving gets closer to reality across the country and around the world, proponents often say that the technology will improve safety by eliminating human error. But a recent study shows that even self-driving vehicles are not foolproof when it comes to crashes.

“Building self-driving cars that drive as well as people do is a big challenge in itself,” according to Insurance Institute for Highway Safety research scientist Alexandra Mueller. “But they’d actually need to be better than that to deliver on the promises we’ve all heard.”

Mueller and a team of IIHS researchers reviewed more than 5,000 car accidents across the country to determine whether they were caused by human driver errors. The group found that only about one-third of those crashes stemmed from the mistakes that autonomous vehicles are being developed to address.

IIHS came up with five categories of driver error: 1) sensing and perception; 2) predicting; 3) planning and deciding; 4) execution and performance, and 5) incapacitation. 

Automation could eliminate two of those categories – sensing and perception and incapacitation – according to the team. But those errors only accounted for about 33 percent of the crashes the group reviewed.

They gave as an example a March 2018 accident in Tempe, Arizona in which a woman was hit and killed by an autonomous vehicle being tested by Uber. The tragic accident was caused by predicting and planning and deciding errors, IIHS said.

“Our analysis shows that it will be crucial for designers to prioritize safety over rider preferences if autonomous vehicles are to live up to their promise to be safer than human drivers,” Mueller said.

How a Denver Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, you have the right to seek compensation from those responsible for the crash. That is true regardless of whether the accident involves a self-driving vehicle or a car with a human driver behind the wheel.

The money damages typically available in these cases include compensation for medical bills, missed wages and any property damage. Additional damages may also be available for pain, suffering and emotional distress, depending on the circumstances.

To get that compensation, you have to be able to prove that the person or entity responsible for the collision is legally liable. In Colorado, an experienced Denver car accident lawyer can help you identify those responsible and build the strongest possible case.

At Levine Law, our Colorado personal injury attorneys combine decades of experience helping people injured in car and other accidents get the money they deserve. We are committed to guiding clients through the legal process with experience and personalized attention. We are pleased to serve clients throughout Colorado, including in Denver, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins and Loveland. Call us at 303-333-8000 or contact us online to speak with a Denver car accident lawyer.