The video below is a jarring reminder of the price we as a society pay for material progress. Self-driving car accidents are comparatively rare, and so we pay more attention when they happen. Forty thousand people die every year in car accidents across the country. In Florida, car accidents kill 3,000 people every year. Autonomous driving is touted as the answer to all the carnage. Most car accidents happen because drivers make mistakes. Computers think and react faster and they don’t get distracted or drunk.
Self-driving car accidents have claimed a total of two lives since the serious real-world road testing began several years ago. The first was former Navy Seal, Joshua Brown. He was one of 23 people killed in Levy County, Florida car accidents in 2016. Brown was zooming along Highway 47 in a brand new Tesla Model “S”. The car was in self-driving mode, or”Autopilot.” The cruise control was set at 74 miles per hour. It was a bright afternoon, and neither the autopilot nor Brown saw the broad, white, side of the tractor trailor crossing the highway. The truck had turned left coming from the opposite direction. The tractor blocked both westbound lanes.
In the Tesla, the autopilot’s sensors could not distinguish the blinding white surface of the trailor from the blinding white sunlight behind it. There was some speculation that Brown was watching a movie on DVD. It turns out that wan’t true, but it might as well have been. In any case, neither man nor computer applied the brakes. On impact, the top of the car was sheared off. The car travelled another 900 hundred feet and hit two fence posts and a utility pole before stopping in a farmer’s field.
Lawyers, Car Accidents, Liability
So the question for Florida personal injury attorneys is, who is at fault? Who should be responsible for the damages? It’s a question that car accident lawyers and the insurance companies are going to have to sort out. The fact is that we are all guinea pigs. Whenever a new drug comes on the market, or a new technology appears, manufacturers and regulators really don’t know how safe it is until millions of people have used it over time. Reports of accidents, injuries and deaths slowly reveal a defect or design flaw. In this way, the product, whatever it is, gets perfected.
But what about the victims, those who gave their lives or their health, while companies worked to get the bugs out of whatever drug or gadget is new on the market? In many cases, the personal injury attorney is the only way for people to get compensation. Self-driving cars and many other innovations will likely make for a safer world. In the meantime, there will still be car accidents. With or without human drivers at the wheel.
If you experience a car accident, or any other personal injury caused by negligence, contact the Orlando car accident attorneys at Martinez Manglardi. Call 407-846-2240 for a free consultation. Offices throughout Central Florida.
Next: The Self Driving Uber Crash