Will Self-Driving Cars Reduce the Number of Accidents?

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by | Feb 15, 2016 | Auto Accidents

Manufacturers and supporters of self-driving cars constantly talk about their safety. They claim that these driverless vehicles will get people from one point to another with a significant decrease in the risk for accident or injury. While self-driving cars still have some time before they are released to consumers, they are currently being tested – and you may have even shared the road with one without knowing. Unfortunately, despite their promises, self-driving cars are actually prone to higher accident rates according to a recent study published by Time Magazine.

What the Study Says

According to Time, self-driving cars are experiencing a higher accident rate than vehicles driven by humans. As of right now, self-driving cars are in accidents at rates of five times more than human-driven vehicles. Already these vehicles have logged over 1.2 million miles driven and some researchers say with a larger number of miles to compare, self-driving cars could still fall below regular accident rates.

However, early data still indicates a trend that is likely to continue or at least something that researchers need to keep an eye on in the future.

Types of Accidents Self-Driving Vehicles Are Prone to

Self-driving vehicles are not in high-speed collisions. Instead, the majority of their accidents revolve around rear-endings when their vehicles were traveling five miles per hour or slower. None of these accidents were serious and there were no injuries. Google has already reported that the majority of accidents their self-driving test vehicles have been involved in were not at the fault of the vehicle – but instead, the human-driven vehicles that collided with them.

The other issue with self-driving vehicles is their inability to bend driving laws. These vehicles instead follow the laws precisely – right down to the speeds permitted for that particular stretch of road. Because they cannot increase speed or alter driving habits to reflect that of the vehicles they share the road with, these vehicles are often rear-ended by impatient, aggressive or distracted drivers.

Accidents with Human-Driven Vehicles Are Still More Serious

While self-driving vehicles have yet to prove themselves, one thing is clear; human-driven vehicles are still the more serious cause for concern and often lead to more severe injuries. Because humans are able to break the law, ignore safety protocols and drive aggressively, the likelihood of serious or fatal accidents is higher with human drivers than driverless vehicles.

As long as self-driving vehicles are sharing the road with human-driven vehicles, it is unlikely their accident rates will decline. In fact, accident rates may stay the same or increase.

Were You Seriously Injured in a Motor Vehicle Accident? Speak with a Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a vehicle accident, you need an advocate to work with insurance companies on your behalf. The attorneys at Horn Law are here to ensure you receive compensation for your injuries – both now and in the future. To get started, schedule a consultation with an attorney by calling us at 816-795-7500 or fill out an online contact form with your accident questions.