Self-Driving Car Implicated in Fatal Crash

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) most car accidents are caused by driver error. New technologies have begun hitting the market that attempt to remove driver error from the driving experience, hoping to reduce the chance of accident. In a recent tragedy in Florida, a man was killed when his driverless Tesla collided with a truck.

In an apparent technological failure, the car’s sensors failed to identify the side of the truck, which was turning, misreading the bright white paint as a bright sky. The car failed to engage its braking system and crashed into the truck. Upon investigation, police concluded that the driver was watching a movie at the time of the crash.

The accident calls into question the wisdom of removing the human factor from the driving experience. Bearing in mind that most accidents involve some degree of driver error, this may be a worthy goal.

Most common causes of car accidents are:

  • Weather — errors in appropriate speed, following distance, crossing traffic for left turn, etc. due to rain, snow or fog;
  • Speeding — driving at a speed that is not appropriate for the conditions;
  • Drunk driving — impaired judgment affecting following distance, changing lanes, disobeying traffic signals;
  • Distracted driving — taking eyes off road due to texting, using handheld phone or GPS systems;
  • Jumping red light or stop sign — misjudging timing of oncoming traffic or turning traffic at a light or stop;

Driver error is most common among new drivers, ages 17-25. Among the other leading factors in car accidents — inclement weather and impaired judgment — inexperience plays a major factor. While the idea that technology can eventually replace drivers does address the dangers caused by human error, it does not address the issue of incorrect judgment, something computers are apparently vulnerable to.

Accidents happen, and people are often injured as a result. When a driver or passenger is injured in a car accident, they may be eligible to collect monetary compensation to pay medical bills, make up for lost wages or buy a new car.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact an auto accident attorney at the Law Office of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivy & Fronrath in West Palm Beach at 561-655-1990 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.