The technology being used in vehicles is evolving quickly, and self-driving cars have started to hit the roads in increasing numbers. These cars present new risks and new legal issues that can complicate the issue of liability in Florida car crashes. For example, there is the question of who is controlling the car in a self-driving car—the driver or the self-driving system?
Generally, existing laws only consider the driver for liability purposes, but in some cases, a manufacturer may be to blame. As self-driving cars continue to expand, many are pushing for legislative changes that consider the use of automated cars. Until then, it may be up to the courts to sort out the legal issues.
Accident investigators determined that Tesla’s autopilot system contributed to a 2016 Florida crash. According to one news source, in May 2016, a former Navy SEAL died after his Model S hit a truck that was crossing the highway in front of him. The accident victim was driving at 74 miles per hour when the truck made a left turn. The driver apparently did not try to brake or steer the car to get out of the way, and investigators later determined that the car had been on autopilot.
Based on the investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended all automakers prevent autonomous driving systems from being used on certain roads. The 2016 crash took place on a divided road with occasional intersections. Tesla has warned users not to use Autopilot on these roads. However, the car’s software allowed drivers to use automated steering on these roads and to drive up to 90 miles per hour. The NTSB found that the system worked as it was supposed to work, but it was only designed to work in certain environments. The crash also showed how the car’s sensors and auto-brakes still cannot reliably detect traffic crossing ahead.
The NTSB found that the driver’s over-reliance on the automation system and the truck’s failure to yield were the primary causes of the accident. But it also found the system contributed to the crash because it allowed the driver’s “prolonged disengagement from the driving task.” The NTSB’s findings may be considered as Congress begins debating legislation concerning autonomous vehicle systems. Tesla defended its car, saying that it will “continue to be extremely clear with current and potential customers that Autopilot is not a fully self-driving technology and drivers need to remain attentive at all times.”
Contact a Florida Auto Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in an accident or suffered a loss or damage to property, you may be entitled to compensation. The Fort Lauderdale injury attorneys at Cecere Santana have helped many Florida residents injured by the careless actions of others. Our attorneys represent individuals in auto accident, homeowner’s, and property claims, workers’ compensation cases, and immigration matters. We work tirelessly for our clients to pursue maximum recovery in their cases, and we can do the same for you. To set up a consultation with an attorney, call (800) 753-5529 or fill out our contact form online.
More Blog Posts:
Cecere Santana can Help with Hurricane Irma Claims, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published September 5, 2017.
South Florida Hit-and-Run Accidents, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published September 3, 2017.