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Are Autonomous Vehicles Safe?

Ever since Back To The Future hit the screen, we’ve been hoping and waiting for a car-turned-time-machine to show up in our driveways. While that’s clearly not happening anytime soon, each time a new technology enhanced vehicle rolls off the assembly line boasting about improved safety coupled with luxury, we fall in love.

Technology and advancements can be fantastic but are we really ready to trust computer programmers to take over highway safety to prevent autonomous vehicle accidents? Auto makers and departments of transportation have had decades of experience in this area and there’s a long way to go to ensure we all make it home at the end of the day.

Can we trust driverless cars?

One of the biggest attractions for using autonomous vehicles is they would eliminate driver distraction. Computers never take their “eyes” from the road or drop their phones, so that risk would be eliminated. They also never get tired, so there’s no risk that they’ll fall asleep at the wheel and veer off the road. The assumption that removing driver error will lead to safer travels, however, may not be accurate. One recent study found that making vehicles self-driving won’t improve highway safety enough to rationalize giving up control of the car.

The biggest risk of self-driving cars is still humans

Computers don’t have the capacity to think and reason like a human brain does. Any decision-making ability comes from being programmed to choose one option over another when a sensor provides data to the computer that points it in direction A or B.

What everyone seems to continue to happily gloss over is the fact that these vehicles are being programmed by humans who make definitive decisions about how to handle a potential disaster on the road. Laws regulating the autonomous vehicle industry don’t necessarily address programmer error, choice, or liability.

Given any particular dangerous driving scenario, the car will be programmed to take one of a few pre-programmed courses of action. You, as an experienced driver, may approach this same scenario with a very different plan in mind that could avoid harming yourself or anyone else. You won’t have the ability to avoid a potentially catastrophic injury because a computer without reasoning capability will be in control.

Ready or not, autonomous vehicles seem to be driving themselves right into our lives despite limited and disparate regulations in most states. What happens when the vehicles that are designed to protect us cause us harm? You want an experienced personal injury attorney on your side.

If you have been the victim of an autonomous vehicle crash in Georgia, let the product liability attorneys at Harris Lowry Manton LLP hold them liable for your injuries. Don’t wait. Schedule your free case evaluation now by calling our Savannah office at 912-417-3774, our Atlanta office at 404-998-8847, or by reaching out to us through our contact page to tell us your story.



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