Liability Issues Surrounding Self Drive Vehicle Features
With the exciting advances in vehicle and navigation technology, we could all be riding in driverless cars before long. With technology, however, come new concerns with liability and accident responsibility.
Many car companies are already offering self-driving features like hands-free parking assist, lane drift monitoring and collision avoidance. Although these perks are a great convenience for drivers, the concern is that less attention will be paid to the road than it should be.
As driverless technology progresses, it’s not just liability issues that are of concern but also the privacy issues. With GPS technology alone, data collection may start to cross the line of personal privacy.
Let’s take a look at some of the issues that may need to be addressed legally and socially, surrounding vehicle technology.
Many car companies already have online features including onboard GPS and smartphone syncing. Even the cars themselves will be connected in the near future. This creates privacy issues for car owners.
Companies can track your driving routes, where you stop to shop, where your bank is located and have access to your phone’s hard drive. The laws will need to be updated to accommodate these new threats to protect privacy.
Another concern is that these systems could be vulnerable to hackers and other individuals intent on causing harm. It's important for vehicle manufacturers to also consider cybersecurity when integrating these systems into the onboard computer of the vehicle.
So what happens if there is an accident in a driverless car, or as a result of a driver relying on drive assist technology? For example, what if you are using the lane drift feature and it fails resulting in an accident? Who is liable? Will the driver still be held to the majority of the responsibility or will the car company be found at fault?
For anyone who's been in an accident as a result of technology failure, it’s best to get advice from a professional in personal injury law like the attorneys at Herrman & Herrman. As it stands, insurance companies and courts will be ultimately left with the task of determining who is at what percentage of fault.
In the future, we should expect to see more and more experienced personal injury lawyers dealing with similar cases.
The world around us is changing rapidly with technological advances and the legal system will need to keep up. As new legal precedents are set, the laws will need to start changing to cover circumstances that haven’t been an issue in the past.
As the laws stand right now, if an accident occurs as a result of technological failure, the car company may be exempt and the liable party may be the technician who originally designed that algorithm.
In these instances, the laws will need to be updated to bring responsibility back to the company and the driver, not the individual programmer.
Even with technology helping you drive a car, as the operator it is still your responsibility to be aware of everything going on around you while driving. While these self-driving innovations are making our lives as drivers easier, we still need to keep our eyes on the road and our hands on the wheel.