Hi folks, I’m Jim Adler, the tough, smart lawyer. In this video, we will discuss some of the risks and liabilities associated with driverless cars. We’re also going to talk about what to do if you are in an accident with a self-driving vehicle, whether as a passenger or a driver that is hit by one of these vehicles.

Most people have dreamed of driverless cars or self-driving vehicles for a long time. Some car manufacturers are now making that dream a reality with many fully autonomous or pilot assist driving features. While Tesla is the face of driverless cars or self-driving vehicles, other manufacturers like Kia-Hyundai, Ford, Audi, Volvo, and many others all have driverless or “pilot assist” systems which will automate the driving process to some degree or another. Most of these systems are coupled with advanced safety technology such as pedestrian/animal detection, automatic braking, lane keeper assist, 360-degree cameras, backup assist, and other impressive features.

While many of these features truly improve safety, they will never eliminate the risk of serious injury or death in a collision. This is because driverless cars or pilot assist vehicles still cause serious and often fatal accidents throughout the United States, including Texas. This includes the two fatalities earlier this year in a Tesla Model S sedan in Spring, Texas, a suburb near Houston, which has been claimed as the worst self-driving car accident in history so far.

Although touted as safer, driverless cars cannot yet replace a human driver in terms of safety. Traffic accident data reveals that driverless cars are still more dangerous than human drivers.  According to statistics, driverless vehicles on average cause 9.1 accidents per million miles driven, while humans cause on average 4.1 accidents per million miles driven.

Other statistics on driverless cars include the following:

– 56% do not feel safe in a driverless vehicle, yet
– Rear-end collisions are the most common type of driverless vehicle accident
– Emergency response vehicles are the biggest threat to driverless vehicles
– Most driverless vehicles still require human intervention and “supervision.”
– 76% of Americans want Congress to have driver brakes for intervention on driverless vehicles
– There are 13 confirmed serious driverless crashes with six confirmed fatalities

Like other types of motor vehicle accidents, liability in a driverless car accident is usually premised on a claim of negligence. That negligence could be the failure to exercise reasonable care in the use or operation of a motor vehicle.

Thus, conduct such as speeding, running a red light or stop sign, failure to yield, improper turns, and other reckless driving actions could result in a finding of negligence and liability against a defendant.  It does not matter whether it is a driverless vehicle or not; these are common ways to establish liability.

But in a driverless car accident case, liability can be more complicated because there could be a claim against the vehicle manufacturer as well. These claims could be for the negligent installation, development, or implementation of these safety features, which are not ready for the real world.

Yet, if car manufacturers hold out driverless vehicles as a safe alternative and there is a negligence crash, there could be a claim against those manufacturers for the negligent installation, construction, development, or implementation of a system that is not safe.

This means that victims of a driverless car accident will have the potential for both a negligence claim and a products liability claim against the driver, vehicle owner, and the manufacturer. These are very complicated and often hotly contested matters that require an experienced car accident lawyer.

If you or a loved one were injured in any type of motor vehicle accident, especially a driverless car accident, call Jim Adler & Associates for a FREE consultation by dialing 1-800-567-7575. You can also send us a message through our website at jimadler.com. Thank you for listening.