Autonomous vehicles or self-driving cars appear to be the go-to-car of the future, and several auto-manufacturers are creating new models. Makers of Tesla cars with an “auto-pilot” feature say their S Model is “probably better than a person” driver. In fact, in the race to develop self-driving vehicles, several titans and service providers of the industry have gone all in, including General Motors, Ford, Uber, and Lyft to name a few.
As the world watches and waits, many are now wondering, are self-driving cars really safer than standard vehicles? And will they make a significant difference in prevent traffic accidents?
A recent study from the University of Michigan may shed light on the answers to these questions…
Autonomous Cars are Safer, but They Crash More Often, Study Finds
The makers of self-driving have contended for some time that autonomous vehicles hold the potential to be safer than standard vehicles. In fact, noting these potential safety impacts, Google has explained:
Imagine if everyone could get around easily and safely, regardless of their ability to drive. Aging or visually impaired loved ones wouldn’t have to give up their independence. Time spent commuting could be time spent doing what you want to do. Deaths from traffic accidents—over 1.2 million worldwide every year—could be reduced dramatically, especially since 94% of accidents in the U.S. involve human error.
According to the University of Michigan study, however, self-driving cars are about five times more likely to crash than regular cars. They are also rear-ended about 50 percent more often than conventional cars.
This discrepancy – higher crash rates for reportedly safer vehicles – seems to present a paradox on the surface. Digging deeper into the data, however, provides some clarification, as:
- Self-driving cars have reportedly not been to blame for any of the accidents in which they have been involved.
- Self-driving cars have a zero fatality rate (as of January 2016).
- Self-driving cars have been driven far less than standard vehicles. In fact, while self-driving cars have driven approximately 1.4 million miles (in controlled testing conditions) while standard vehicles are driven about 3 trillion miles annually (in real-world settings).
How to Avoid a Collision with a Self-Driving Vehicle
Given that self-driving cars may be sharing the roads with drivers within five years (according to Google’s projections and goals), knowing what to do to avoid crashes with these vehicles is important.
And it’s relatively simple: stay focused and aware of your surroundings and the traffic conditions. Be a defensive driver, comply with traffic laws and wear your seatbelt so you are optimally protected if – or when – collisions happen.
Contact a Boulder Car Accident Lawyer at Cederberg Law
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident with a self-driving car – or if you have lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident, contact a Boulder car accident lawyer at Cederberg Law to find out more about your best options for financial recovery.
Call us at 303-499-0449 or email us via the contact to meet with us at no cost or obligation to you. In addition to offering free initial consults and contingency fee options, our lawyers make hospital visits to ensure that you have access to the legal support you need – whenever you need it.