Nine out of 10 car crashes in Washington and across the U.S. are the result of driver error. If errors can be eliminated, then the roads will become a lot safer, which is why so many people are looking to self-driving cars for a solution. At their current stage of development, though, these vehicles cannot deliver on the promise of averting most crashes.
This was the conclusion that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety came to in a recent study. Researchers looked at over 5,000 crashes, made five categories for the driver errors that contributed to them and analyzed how self-driving cars would address the errors. It turns out that these cars would only have an effect on two of the categories: sensing and perceiving errors, which were behind 23% of the analyzed crashes, and errors from incapacitation, which were behind 10%. They would only prevent a third of crashes, then.
Among sensing and perceiving errors are mistakes due to distracted driving and impeded visibility. As for incapacitation, that can refer to drug and alcohol impairment and even falling asleep behind the wheel. The other three categories of errors were predicting errors, planning and deciding errors and execution and performance errors. To prevent these, makers of self-driving cars will need to focus on safety rather than speed or driver convenience.
Drivers are supposed to keep their car under control at all times and do everything with safety in mind. When negligence or outright recklessness are behind car accidents, those who are injured can be entitled to damages. Seeking a settlement from the responsible driver’s auto insurance company is a difficult endeavor, so victims may want legal help. A lawyer may speak for them at the negotiation table or in the courtroom.