• Will Self-Driving Cars Eliminate Fatal Car Accidents?
  • January 4, 2019 | Author: Charles Allen
  • Law Firm: Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC - Atlanta Office
  • Each year, thousands of Georgia residents die in fatal car accidents. According to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, 1,430 Georgia residents died in traffic accidents in 2016, the most recent year that Georgia’s vehicle fatality statistical data is available.

    In an effort to dramatically reduce, if not eliminate fatal car accidents, car manufacturers such as General Motors, Uber, Tesla, and Waymo are currently designing and testing self-driving vehicles. You might wonder whether it is even possible for driverless cars to prevent fatal car accidents.

    It is unlikely that self-driving cars will eliminate fatal car accidents. Moreover, according to a New York Times Investigation, there is mounting evidence that self-driving vehicles are actually less safe than traditional driver-controlled vehicles because they are unable to adapt to the tumultuous road conditions that humans navigate each day with relative ease.

    Even if the current self-driving vehicle technology is improved, the public will not widely accept self-driving vehicles unless they reduce the number of annual fatalities by 75-80%, according to a recent study published in Risk Analysis, an international science journal. Some optimistic researchers believe that self-driving cars can reduce fatal car accidents by 90%, but that has yet to be seen.

    If you or someone you love has been injured in a self-driving vehicle accident, you should contact a car accident lawyer. Driverless vehicle collision cases are much more challenging than typical auto accident cases because you have to establish that the vehicle was defective. Defective product cases typically take years to litigate and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    How Can Self-Driving Cars Can Reduce Car Accident Fatalities

    Statistically, driver error is responsible for causing 95% of car accidents. Driverless vehicle manufacturers suggest that self-driving vehicles will be safer because they don’t drive drunk, or text while driving, for example. Indeed, according to Automotive News, there was an 8.1% increase in traffic accident fatalities in the first half of 2015 that researchers believe is attributable to drivers being distracted while using their iPhone or Android devices.

    Although it makes sense that a road full of driverless vehicles will eliminate accidents caused by the usage of smartphones, unless human drivers act responsibly and discontinue their smartphone device usage while driving, the number of accident fatalities might not significantly decrease even as more and more self-driving vehicles hit the road because self-driving vehicles have difficulty reacting to unpredictable conditions. So, for instance, if a driver is distracted by his iPhone and he swerves across the center line of the road towards an oncoming driverless vehicle, the driverless vehicle might not apply its brakes in time to avoid the collision because it didn’t predict that the other driver would lose control of his vehicle.

    Follow the Safety Rules of the Road Today

    It will likely be a long time before driverless vehicles become widespread. Some forecasters believe that self-driving cars won’t outnumber human-controlled vehicles until the end of this century. One of the main impediments to the public’s acceptance of self-driving vehicles is the fact that most Americans continue to enjoy driving their vehicles. Car enthusiasts won’t relinquish their steering wheels without putting up a fight.

    Until self-driving vehicles overtake the road, we all should take reasonable measures to make driving safer. That means:

    • Buckling up your seatbelt before hitting the road.
    • Designating a sober driver if your group of friends is going out for an evening of drinks.
    • Only using your smartphone for GPS directions and making sure that you input the GPS address info before putting your car into gear.
    • Driving the speed limit.
    • Making sure that you’re always aware of the vehicles around you on Georgia’s state roads and interstates, including I-85, I-75, GA 400, and I-285, so that you don’t collide with another vehicle and cause a major car accident.