What Self-Driving Trucks Mean for Personal Injury Cases
Developments in driving technology are creating a lot of novel solutions for everyday commuting problems. However, new driving technology is also the cause of different legal debates and issues on accountability. The advent of self-driving trucks and cars is bringing up a lot of discussion about safety, ethics, and liability in personal injury cases.
With companies like Ford and Waymo building factories for next-generation hybrid and self-driving cars in Michigan, these questions on self-driving technology aren’t just hypothetical. They’re becoming inevitable parts of our day-to-day living. If you are ever in an accident involving a self-driving truck, you can rely on the Clark Law Office’s competent and dynamic personal injury attorneys.
What Are Self-Driving Trucks For?
Before anything else, it’s essential to understand why car manufacturers are pushing for self-driving technology despite the many safety and legal concerns. Many people see the future in self-driving trucks, thanks to the following benefits:
- No human error
Automation is designed to reduce and even remove the human factor. This is a significant benefit if you consider the common factors which lead to truck accidents: driver fatigue, intoxication with drugs or alcohol, distracted driving, road rage and aggression, and other forms of human error.
With self-driving trucks, for example, you can expect the truck to drive interstate without stopping and without the dangerous swerving associated with a sleepy driver. Automated vehicles are also designed to be more conservative compared to human drivers, leading to less aggression and fewer risks. Both speed and position are maintained to reinforce safety on the road.
- Faster reaction to hazards and traffic data
Humans, while incredibly intuitive, have limited capacity for sensation. With developments in truck sensor technology, self-driving cars actually have better visibility and detection abilities. Sensors can detect the presence and distance of road debris, accidents, physical road works, and other potential hazards. With the perfection of driving software, reaction time to these identified hazards is also faster than the reaction of humans.
Self-driving trucks also come with the ability to compute for the fastest possible route. These cars can use real-time traffic data and updates on accidents to cut through the traffic.
- Evidence for dispute resolution
Automated trucks aren’t perfect. External factors, including other aggressive drivers on the road, can still lead to collisions and damage to motorists and pedestrians.
In cases of personal injury and property damage, self-driving trucks come with digital records that can help resolve disputes on liability and negligence. A diagnostic check of the self-driving system’s memory can reveal the car’s inputs and actions performed.
With a self-driving truck, there’s no need to test for blood alcohol levels or rely on faulty human memory. You just need to check the logs.
- Maximized truck space
In the future, self-driving cars can lead to a total change in how trucks are designed. Without the need for a primary driver, self-driving trucks can be designed to accommodate just the computer system itself. This leads to more space for transported goods.
What Do Self-Driving Trucks Mean for Personal Injury?
On the downside, self-driving trucks can lead to significant concerns for personal injury. As with any new technology, there are growing pains and trade-offs.
- Dangerous errors in judgment
At the current level of self-driving technology, human intuition is still an irreplaceable asset. Self-driving cars follow strict algorithms, which can be hazardous in more complex and unanticipated situations. Incorrect processing and the lack of intuition can potentially do more damage.
Self-driving trucks can injure a pedestrian or other cars while circumventing other roadblocks. The priorities of these automated machines are still not as nuanced as human drivers. The 2018 case of Uber’s fatal self-driving crash truly sparked a lot of concern over the judgment of self-driving cars.
This lack of intuition also leaves self-driven trucks more vulnerable to things like theft and aggressive driving by other motorists on the road.
- Difficulty in determining actual liability
While system logs can show records of what happened in a collision, they don’t necessarily help in determining actual liability. Victims of collisions with self-driving trucks can have trouble getting just compensation if the different parties involved decide to pass around the liability.
For example, the owner of the truck can point fingers at the manufacturer of the car, while the car manufacturer can blame the developer of the sensor technology system. The person in charge of calibrating the systems may also be implicated. In other cases, there may be a backup or safety driver involved, who can also be partially liable in the collision. Insurance companies come with their own set of legal challenges.
Contact a Michigan Personal Injury Attorney Today
As new technology in driving develops, it’s crucial to be aware of your rights to compensation and of your different legal avenues. You need a legal firm that has the expertise and experience needed to deal with evolving technological and legal challenges. With such new technology, every case requires sophisticated dedication.
The Clark Law Office can help you win your case or get the settlement you deserve for full physical, emotional and financial compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation!