Earlier this year, the much-discussed Google self-driving car was involved in a personal injury accident. As it turns out, that was not an isolated incident. According to a study by the University of Michigan, self-driving vehicles have a higher crash rate than conventional vehicles.
Michigan Study Reports Crashes 5 Times More Likely
Even though the sample size of self-driving car collisions is infinitesimally small compared to conventional vehicles, the initial trends are worth noting. Out of about 50 self-driving cars, there have been 11 crashes. The injury rate is also higher than in conventional cars, although all injuries in collisions involving self-driving cars have been reported as minor.
Who’s to Blame When Driverless Cars Crash?
Driverless cars have not been at fault in any of the crashes analyzed by the Michigan study. And there have been no reports of a driverless car malfunctioning to the point of jeopardizing motorist safety. But as autonomous vehicles become more common, how will our laws react? States are struggling to figure out how to address the liability of driverless cars and owners, and Michigan has developed a futuristic “city” designed to test real-world capabilities of autonomous vehicles.
Even though the University of Michigan study uses a small sample, this technology is advancing rapidly. The information is valuable as scientists, engineers, and lawmakers work together to make the transition as safe as possible.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.