That is an important question as states and the nation move toward authorizing the use of driverless vehicles. Projected uses range from transporting the elderly and disabled to autonomous semi-tractor trailers that transport merchandise.
The idea of sharing the roadways and highways with autonomous vehicles can be frightening. In fact, the Verge reports that most Americans don’t trust driverless cars. Will we ever?
Self-Driving Cars Create Many Questions
Inventors like to say that self-driving cars will be safer. However, a recent article in Business Insider states that today’s autonomous vehicles won’t prevent the most common accidents. This is despite the role that driver error plays in most crashes.
The information comes from a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It found that the way today’s autonomous vehicles are designed, they cannot stop more complex accidents.
One example was a woman killed in Arizona. She walked her bicycle in front of the driverless car. For unknown reasons, the vehicle’s sensors did not detect the woman and ran over her.
Problems like that will have to be fixed before autonomous vehicles can be considered safe.
Which bring up the question: Who is responsible when self-driving cars have accidents?
Our friends at Property Casualty 360 say it can be complicated. The federal government issued voluntary guidelines and left regulation up to the states. As a result, 29 states have their own laws regulating autonomous vehicles.
One thing most states agree on is that the individual who started the vehicle with the intent to drive is responsible. However, if an accident were caused by faulty software, responsibility could go back to the manufacturer.
Much is expected to change as more manufacturers dive into the driverless vehicle game. The technology will change, laws will change, and Auto Insurance will change.
What will not change is the Keating Agency’s level of service and care for our clients. We have been your local, independent insurance agency for more than 50 years and we hope to serve you for 50 more. Contact us anytime with your questions. We are here for you.