Atlanta Car Accident Lawyers Handling Claims Involving Autonomous Vehicles
If you were hit by a self-driving car in Atlanta, Savannah or throughout Georgia, call us
After years of planning and experimentation, self-driving vehicles have made their way onto our roads and highways. Autonomous driving technology is supposed to reduce or remove human error and make our vehicles and driving safer. While automobile manufacturers confidently assert this safety, autonomous vehicles can still malfunction, crash, and cause substantial injuries in an accident.
The car accident lawyers of Harris Lowry Manton LLP have the knowledge and experience to successfully handle this new area of motor vehicle accident law. We investigate the circumstances of the accident to identify all responsible parties and hold each of them accountable. If you or a family member was involved in an autonomous vehicle accident, contact the experienced Atlanta auto accident lawyers of Harris Lowry Manton to discuss your case.
- What is an autonomous vehicle?
- What makes autonomous vehicles unsafe?
- Are we really ready for autonomous vehicles?
- Who are the top autonomous vehicle companies?
- Who is responsible for my Atlanta autonomous car accident?
- More information on autonomous vehicle accident claims in Georgia
- Do you have vehicle accident attorney near me?
What is an autonomous vehicle?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) discusses the benefits of automated vehicles, stating:
Many vehicles on the road today have driver assistance technologies, which help to save lives and prevent injuries on our nation's roads. While some driver assistance technologies are designed to warn you if you’re at risk of an impending crash, others are designed to take action to avoid a crash. The continuing evolution of automotive technology, including driver assistance technologies and automated driving systems, aim to deliver even greater safety benefits.
The NHTSA also classifies vehicles into six levels of automation.
- Level 0: Momentary Driver Assistance. System provides momentary driving assistance, like warnings and alerts, or emergency safety interventions. However, the driver remains fully engaged and attentive.
- Level 1: Driver Assistance. System provides continuous assistance with either acceleration/braking or steering (not both), while the driver remains fully engaged and attentive.
- Level 2: Additional Assistance. System provides continuous assistance with both acceleration/braking and steering, while the driver remains fully engaged and attentive.
- Level 3: Conditional Automation. System actively performs driving tasks while the driver remains available to take over.
- Level 4: High Automation. System is fully responsible for driving tasks within limited service areas. Occupants act only as passengers and do not need to be engaged.
- Level 5: Full Automation. System is fully responsible for driving tasks in all circumstances. Occupants act only as passengers and do not need to be engaged.
An autonomous vehicle (AV) uses technology like sensors, cameras, and radar to analyze and navigate traffic and its surroundings. This tech allows the vehicle to detect other cars and trucks, pedestrians and bicycles, stationary objects, potholes, and other unexpected road conditions.
However, no technology is perfect and a recent spate of accidents involving self-driving cars leave many consumers and drivers wondering if autonomous vehicles are safe.
What makes autonomous vehicles unsafe?
At the moment there are no Level 5 vehicles on the market. However, when manufacturers advertise their cars as “self-driving” or “driverless,” it shouldn’t be a surprise when the car owners start acting that way. In fact, one of the biggest safety risks of AVs is human error. Other risks include:
- Drivers feel over-secure. A majority of car accidents involving autonomous and self-driving vehicles involve distracted driving – meaning the driver was overly reliant on the vehicle’s technology and failed to pay attention to the road.
- The technology isn’t there yet. As far as autonomous technology has come, it still has miles to go. A 2020 AAA study revealed that “over the course of 4,000 miles of real-world driving, vehicles equipped with active driving assistance systems experienced some type of issue every 8 miles, on average.” Further, 75% of these errors involved problems with lane departure or positioning.
- Fire or explosion risk. Most autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles coming onto the market are also electric. These use lithium-ion batteries, which, in the event of a fire, can burn hot and long in the event of a collision, or even explode. Per CNBC, “the qualities that make lithium ion battery cells powerful enough to move a passenger vehicle can also make them vulnerable to igniting-- especially if battery cells within them are damaged or defective.”
- Changing driving conditions. Drivers who are engaged and alert behind the wheel can respond quickly to changing conditions, like an accident, construction, or sudden weather. A self-driving vehicle operates best when conditions are optimal, so it remains to be seen how it will operate when roads are in disrepair, or in other scenarios.
All of these issues and more leave many experts and safety experts wondering if we are ready for truly autonomous vehicles.
Are we really ready for autonomous vehicles?
Automotive World discusses the massive changes necessary nationwide in infrastructure and legislation for truly autonomous vehicles. Although President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law does address some of these, it does not address all of them. For conventional vehicles to safely share the road with self-driving vehicles, the entire system may need an overhaul. Automotive World notes the following issues:
- Changing traffic signs and signals to work better with AVs, which could require an infrastructure overhaul.
- Re-assessing liability law to determine who is responsible in the event of a crash. Is it the manufacturer? The developer of a faulty piece of software? Strict liability? These laws may have to be rewritten.
- Updating criminal laws. As technology changes, so do the crimes that go along with them. Hacking into an AV’s communication system, using an AV’s technology to commit a crime, and other misuse of technology may require rewriting or creating new legislation.
We are already seeing high-profile and fatal accidents involving autonomous vehicles, which begs the question – are self-driving vehicles being tested on our public streets? With the alarming amount of car accidents involving AVs lately, perhaps we are not quite ready for fully autonomous vehicles. Tesla is also working on a self-driving commercial truck.
Who are the top autonomous vehicle companies?
According to AI Time Journal here are some of the top autonomous vehicle companies to watch:
Who is responsible for my Atlanta autonomous car accident?
Determining liability is one of the most challenging aspects of autonomous car accidents. If there is an individual in the driver’s seat, is that person at fault? Did the vehicle malfunction or does the problem lie in its design? Our accomplished Atlanta auto accident attorneys have the ability to effectively investigate these incidents to identify all responsible parties and hold them accountable for resulting injuries.
Do you have a vehicle accident lawyer near me?
Harris Lowry Manton LLP’s Atlanta office is located at 1418 Dresden Drive, in Brookhaven, Georgia (see map below), with plenty of local parking just a short walk away. We have an additional office in Savannah.
We serve clients throughout Georgia and offer other options for initial consultations if you cannot make it to one of these locations.
Schedule an initial consultation with a Georgia self-driving car accident lawyer
As autonomous vehicles become more popular, it is imperative that the technology is improved to keep our roadways safe. If you have been involved in an accident involving a self-driving car, turn to the Atlanta and Savannah car accident attorneys of HLM today. Put our impeccable skills to work in your autonomous vehicle injury case. To schedule an appointment, call our Atlanta office or our Savannah office today. You can also complete our contact form. First consultations are free.