Earlier this summer, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ordered all automakers to report all self-driving car accidents. If driver-assist systems are in use at the time of the crash, automakers are not required to report those accidents. This will give the NHTSA the data it needs to identify safety issues as they arise. It may also help safety officials proactively address critical issues before they become problematic.
Why hasn’t the NHTSA required self-driving car manufacturers to report these accidents before? The NHTSA worried that a crash report mandate would cause automakers to abandon this new technology or, at the least, delay progress. Now is the time to begin collecting this much-needed data.
NHTSA investigators are already underway reviewing a slew of self-driving car accidents. This investigation includes one violent crash involving a Tesla in March 2021. The Tesla became wedged beneath a tractor-trailer and left two people critically injured. At least 31 injury accidents occurred recently that took the lives of 10 people.
Who Is Liable in a Self-Driving Car Accident?
If no one is driving the car, then who is liable after a self-driving car accident? This is a common question that lawmakers should address more thoroughly in the coming years. The terms “self-driving,” “driverless” and “autonomous” are often used interchangeably, but there are important distinctions.
Self-driving cars have differing levels of autonomy. This means that there must be a human present and paying attention. As such, the driver is still responsible for many of the actions the vehicle takes.
If the backup driver was not paying attention when the crash occurred, the driver could be held liable. However, if the software contained a defect or did not perform as predicted, the vehicle manufacturer could also bear liability.
In accidents that involve self-driving cars, multiple parties often share the blame. The driver, the vehicle manufacturer, and the self-driving software manufacturer may share liability for the crash and for the injuries that occurred.
These accidents are complex and require the skills of an experienced personal injury attorney. Your attorney will need to investigate your accident closely to identify all responsible parties. Without a law firm on your side, you might not receive the compensation you deserve.
Have You Been Injured in a San Jose Car Accident?
At the Law Offices of Braid Pezzaglia, our San Jose car accident lawyer understands the complexities surrounding self-driving car crashes in Northern California. If you suffer an injury in a self-driving car accident, our San Jose injury lawyer can help you to understand your best legal options and how we may be able to help you through this difficult time.