Are Driverless Cars Safe?

Self driving cars on the road with other vehicles

On their own, driverless cars are quite safe. Their sensors and cameras allow them to detect and react to hazards far sooner than a human can.

However, does this perfect driving really make the roads safer?

Maybe not.

Here’s what you should know about the safety of driverless cars:

As Long As Humans Are On the Roads, Human Error Will Exist

Human errors cause nearly all crashes in one way or another. This is the leading reason why automated vehicles are not currently seen as a revolutionary way to reduce car accidents (yet).

In fact, a national study of police-reported crashes states that driver error is the last failure in the chain of events leading up to more than nine out of every 10 accidents.

According to Jessica Cicchino, Vice President for Research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), “It’s likely that fully self-driving cars will eventually identify hazards better than people, but we found that this alone would not prevent the bulk of crashes.”

Traditional lines of thought believe that self-driving vehicles can someday make crashes totally disappear, but the reality is much more complex than that.

It’s Difficult to Build Self-Driving Cars to Drive As Humans Do

“Building self-driving cars that drive as well as people do is a big challenge in itself,” says IIHS Research Scientist Alexandra Mueller. “But they’d actually need to be better than that to deliver on the promises we’ve all heard.”

In order for self-driving cars to adequately mimic the ways in which humans drive, they would need to be capable of the following driver-related factors:

  • “Sensing and perceiving” errors such as driver distraction, hindered visibility, and not identifying hazards before it’s too late.
  • “Predicting” mistakes that happen when drivers misjudge a traffic gap, wrongly estimate the speed of another vehicle, or make an inaccurate assumption about what another road user would do.
  • “Planning and deciding” mishaps like incorrect speed for the road conditions, road rage, or tailgating the vehicle ahead.
  • “Execution and performance” errors, such as insufficient evasive maneuvers, overcompensation, and other vehicular control mistakes.
  • “Incapacitation” related to impairment as a result of alcohol or drug use, medical ailments, or sleeping at the wheel.

If you’ve been injured in an accident with a self-driving car or any other kind of car, we may be able to help you recover the compensation you deserve. Don’t hesitate to reach out with your questions right away.

Call Shapiro Law Firm, P.A. today at (850) 629-7226 for a free consultation.

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