Could Self-Driving Cars Be the Key to Fewer Accidents?
Americans are addicted to our cars. According to Hedges & Company, there were 276.1 million registered vehicles in the U.S. in 2018, 44 percent of which were cars. That number is expected to increase to 281.3 million in 2019.
So it’s no surprise how many car accidents there are in a given year. Although fatalities are down, 37,133 people lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes in 2017. And with 94 percent of accidents occurring as a result of human error, wouldn’t it be best to remove the human from the equation?
That’s the purpose of the self-driving car. For years now, news reports have been focusing on autonomous vehicles and just how safe these vehicles are. But we may be ignoring an important question — if self-driving cars become a way of life for us, what will happen to the auto insurance industry?
Self-Driving Car Accidents: Is It Even Possible?
Since driverless cars hit the streets back in 2013, the number of car accidents caused by these vehicles have been extremely low. A study of vehicle incident reports in California found that between 2014 and 2018, there were 38 accidents involving autonomous cars. However, in all but one of those cases, the accidents were caused by the human. So is it possible an autonomous vehicle can cause an accident?
Consider the following case in California:
In November, a California Highway Patrol officer had begun following a Tesla Model S that was driving at 70 mph with its turn signal on despite passing several exits. As the officer pulled up alongside the vehicle, he noticed the driver slumped in the seat. The officer attempted to rouse the driver with his lights and siren to no avail.
It was determined that the car was driving under Tesla’s Autopilot option, which is capable of operating the vehicle for an entire trip with no input from the driver. In an effort to stop the car, an additional patrol car had to block traffic from behind the vehicle as the officer pulled in front of the Tesla and caused it to come to a stop. The police later discovered the driver of the Tesla was drunk.
The case is a prime example of how autonomous vehicles take away some of the risk caused by human drivers. If the car did not have this option, the driver could have caused a major accident and may even have lost his life.
So if the risk is decreased thanks to these vehicles, what is to become of auto insurance?
Self-Driving Cars Take Away the Risk
Although self-driving cars are slowly becoming more and more popular, it could still take decades to see many of us behind the wheel of one. A recent study by J.D. Power and Associates found that 42 percent of the American public “would never ride in a fully automated vehicle.” Many Americans state they would need 100 percent safety before taking a ride in a self-driving car.
But many proponents state that driverless cars will take away the risk of accidents that are caused by human error. And without the risk of a human driver involved in the operation of the vehicle, will car insurance be needed anymore?
That’s the fear of the insurance industry. According to a recent article in Bloomberg, self-driving cars could be the key to “killing” auto insurance as we know it. The Stevens Institute of Technology had published a report forecasting that premiums could drop by 12.5 percent by 2035 thanks to autonomous vehicles. And even with new product lines centered around these cars, insurance companies will still feel the pinch of declining revenue.
Car Accident in New Jersey? Let Us Help
Autonomous vehicles are still a ways away from taking over our roadways. And until the time occurs, we are still all under a risk for a car accident. If you do get into a crash and are seriously hurt, do you know what your next steps should be?
You contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone. For 30 years, our car accident attorney has been helping clients throughout New Jersey with their claims. We understand how the insurance companies work and will make sure you receive the compensation that you deserve.
If you are injured in a car accident, don’t wait much longer. Contact our Jersey City law office today for a free consultation.