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Who is Liable for an Accident in a Self-Driving Car?

If you are in an accident involving a self-driving car, the manufacturer may be to blame.

Self-driving cars have been making headlines across the nation. Originally heralded as a way to help reduce the high number of motor vehicle accidents that occur each year throughout the country, they are now the subject of controversy after a series of tragic and high-profile accidents. In a typical crash, drivers are generally liable for any injuries that result. However, in a self-driving vehicle, it may be the manufacturer who is ultimately to blame.

Self-Driving Car Accidents

Self-driving cars, otherwise known as autonomous vehicles, rely on advanced technology to shift the burden of driving from individuals to integrated computer systems. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claims this is a smart move, as the majority of car crashes and collisions are the result of human error.

The NHTSA reports that close to 60 million people are injured as a result of car accidents caused by reckless driving behaviors such as speeding, running red lights, and driving under the influence. By automating vehicle functions and shifting operations away from the driver, officials claim self-driving cars can make roads safer and reduce the overall number of crashes.

Unfortunately, in cities where self-driving vehicles have already hit the highways, there appears to be an emerging trend. Rather than increasing driver safety, these vehicles are blamed for actually causing car crashes and collisions. Common reasons cited for these accidents include:

● Hacking of the car’s computer system;

● Mechanical issues resulting in vehicle malfunctions;

● Programming glitches, such as those that cause the car to accelerate forward rather than stopping when appropriate.

Lawsuits Against Self-Driving Car Manufacturers

As self-driving cars continue to be involved in car accidents, manufacturers are increasingly being blamed. In 2018, General Motors settled a claim for an undisclosed amount due to an accident in which one of their self-driving vehicles suddenly veered and struck a passing motorcyclist. According to Automotive News, it is just one of numerous lawsuits filed against the company.

At around the same time the lawsuit was being settled, Tesla found themselves at the center of controversy as well. After a series of fatal accidents, the company warned drivers to remain alert for times when they would need to override the car’s autopilot system. This is contrary to claims on the Tesla website that the vehicle has full self-driving capabilities.

Contact Our Ponca City, OK Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys

In April of 2019, the Insurance Journal announced that Oklahoma had passed legislation regulating self-driving vehicles. The bill is designed to be part of a move to put our state in the best possible place to capitalize financially on the self-driving trend.

As more self-driving vehicles appear on local roads, there are sure to be more frequent issues regarding liability for crashes and collisions. At BDIW Law, we can assist you in holding manufacturers accountable when these accidents occur. To discuss your options, contact our Ponca City motor vehicle accident attorneys to request a consultation.

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