The Laws That Protect Those from Self-Driving Cars

Posted March 19th, 2018 by .

Categories: Auto Accidents.

self-driving cars carboneThe future does not slow down for anyone and anything, especially when it comes to automobile and transportation technology. Self-driving vehicles are on the cusp of becoming a mainstay of our everyday lives. Currently, thirty-three states have passed legislation regarding these types of vehicles. New Jersey is not currently among them. However, a bill to pass laws involving these types of vehicles is currently in advanced talks.

What happens if a self-driving vehicle gets into an accident and hurts the passengers inside, or worse, injures a pedestrian crossing the street? Unfortunately, the latter is the reality.

Earlier today, March 19, one of Uber’s self-driving cars struck and killed a pedestrian crossing a crosswalk in Tempe, Arizona. The pedestrian was pronounced dead at a local hospital where she had been transported to. This is the first-known incident of a pedestrian dying as a result of a self-driving vehicle. Because of the incident, Uber indefinitely suspended all of their self-driving vehicle operations across the country until they can determine what had gone wrong.

Liability for Self-Driving Cars

Contrary to the belief, self-driving cars do not entirely eliminate car accidents. Well, for now anyway. Along with the incident mentioned above, there have been a handful of accidents and issues that have occurred because of self-driving vehicles stemming from Uber and other manufacturers of autonomous vehicles. But in cases that involve self-driving cars, who’s to be held responsible for any injuries that might occur?

When a self-driving car is at fault for an accident, the at-fault party might be difficult to determine. In previous occurrences, product liability laws have come into play. When a driver is at fault, laws involving negligence and personal injury matters are the sticking points. Self-driving vehicles are different. In this case, the computer program is the driver. But, how can a computer program be the at-fault party?

Technically, it wouldn’t be. In the incident above, Uber might end up being the guilty party. It’s all dependent on the error that still has to be determined. Regardless, many self-driving vehicle incidents come back to product liability laws. It could fall on the shoulders of the vehicle manufacturer, the software developer, or the outsourcing company that is involved in building and manufacturing certain parts of the vehicle.

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If you are interested in learning more about product liability laws in the Garden State, check out our Firm’s latest article on the matter. We will be sure to make any updates regarding this tragedy in Tempe, Arizona when we know more.

If you are the victim of self-driving gone wrong or any type of car accident in general, you are going to need an experienced attorney on your side. For a free consultation of your case, contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone today. We are ready to help you.

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