Blaming the Auto-Pilot Driver

Who is at fault in a self-driving car accident?

The nation’s first auto-pilot fatal car accident just happened in Florida. The accident occurred when a Tesla driver using the auto-pilot, self-driving feature crashed into the side of a tracker trailer that had crossed its path at a turning point in a divided highway, sending the Tesla under the tracker trailer with the windshield making impact and killing the Tesla driver.

In a two vehicle accident, it’s common to find the two drivers pointing their fingers of blame at each other.

But what happens in a two vehicle accident with three drivers: two humans and a virtual driver?

Self-driving is a brand new phenomenon on the roads– having gone from sci-fi concept to roadway reality seemingly overnight. Glitches in the new technology and human misuse of it were certainly possible, if not inevitable. There was no question that there would be fatal accidents; it was just a matter of how soon.

According to Tesla, the self-driving technology is not intended to be a hands-free, fully functional auto-pilot, but rather an “assist feature”. The driver is supposed to be fully engaged and alert, with both hands on the wheel at all times, so that the self-driving feature functions more as a second set of eyes, not the only set. In fact, the self-driving technology periodically checks and will slow the car down if it detects that the driver’s hands leave the wheel and don’t return upon an alert to do so.

When used properly, self-driving should help reduce driver error and improve safety on the roads. According to Tesla, this fatality is the first death in over 130 million miles of self-driving operation. There is no doubt this emerging technology will find itself in the middle of accident claims in the future.

If you’ve been injured in car accident, it’s imperative you contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the crash to preserve your rights and maximize your chances for a healthy, fast recovery and compensation for your injuries and damages suffered.

J&Y specializes in personal injury law and represents clients throughout all of Northern and Southern California, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Rancho Cucamonga. Call today at (888) 806-6722 for a free consultation or contact online here. Se habla Español.