The Reason Why Self-Driving Car Accidents in PA Are So Complex

August 16, 2022

The Reason Why Self-Driving Car Accidents in PA Are So Complex

While more and more cars with automated driving systems are hitting the road, when these vehicles get into accidents with other motorists it can lead to complexities in any subsequent injury claim. One of the primary issues that may arise in an accident involving a self-driving vehicle is who should be held at fault for the accident.

Automakers Misrepresent Self-Driving Capabilities

Although truly self-driving vehicles are still in the testing stages, there are numerous models of commercially available vehicles that have a wide range of automated driving systems. Some of the more notable systems include Tesla’s Autopilot technology and Cadillac’s Super Cruise system. Automakers who offer automated driving technologies have been accused of misrepresenting the capabilities of their systems. Currently, these features still require drivers to remain attentive to the road and capable of resuming manual control of their vehicle. But advertising of these systems can give some consumers the impression that these cars can drive themselves from point A to point B without any human operation. 

Self-Driving Features Lull Drivers into a False Sense of Security

Drivers of vehicles with these automated systems are increasing their trust in the capability of the systems. As a result, drivers may activate their vehicle’s automated driving systems and then take their focus off the road, even though all current systems require drivers to maintain attention on the road. Drivers with automated systems have been known to climb out of the driver’s seat into the front passenger seat or back seat, read a book or play a video game, or even fall asleep. 

Current Self-Driving Systems Are Not Perfect

Drivers of vehicles with automated systems have a false sense of security in the capabilities of these systems, not realizing that self-driving technology has not yet been perfected. When self-driving systems have trouble interpreting data from the vehicle’s sensors, the driving system may end up committing errors such as failing to slow down for traffic, crashing into parked vehicles, or changing lanes into lanes already occupied by vehicles. Drivers are expected to maintain awareness of the road and retake control of the vehicle when the self-driving system is about to do something incorrectly. Ideally, self-driving systems should disengage when these systems can no longer properly interpret sensor data, which requires drivers to resume manual control of their vehicles. 

Shifting Liability Between Manufacturers and Drivers

There has been a big debate about whether liability for accidents caused by vehicles using self-driving technology should be placed on the driver of the vehicle or upon the manufacturer of the vehicle who developed the self-driving system. Advocates of imposing liability on drivers note that these systems still require the driver’s full attention on the road, and thus a careful driver would have intervened before the self-driving system caused the crash. On the other hand, some argue that auto manufacturers should bear some liability for overpromising the capabilities of their vehicles’ self-driving systems and for not adequately instructing vehicle owners about the risks of use of these systems and instructions for their proper use. 

Contact a Pittsburgh Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Self-Driving Car Accident Case in Pennsylvania

Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a self-driving car accident in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Goodrich & Geist, P.C. represent clients injured because of self-driving car accidents in Pittsburgh and the surrounding Western PA counties. Call (412) 766-1455 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 3634 California Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15212. Home visits can be arranged in certain situations. 

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.