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Autonomous Car Accidents

Self-driving vehicles in Texas are here to stay, thanks to a State law allowing for the operation of autonomous vehicles on Texas roads. The law not only permits self-driving vehicles, but it also permits them to operate alone, with no safety driver in the vehicle as a back up in the event that something goes wrong. Highlights of the law include the following:

  • Autonomous d vehicles must be insured like other vehicles.
  • The vehicle manufacturer is responsible for any broken traffic laws or car accidents unless another party has subsequently modified the vehicle.
  • The vehicles must be capable of complying with all traffic laws.
  • It must be equipped with video recording devices.
  • The law does not require self-driving car companies to notify anyone or any authority in Texas if they are putting autonomous vehicles on the road without a human occupant.

Texas is among the least legally restrictive states when it comes to autonomous vehicles operating on its roads. This is frightening to many people for a number of reasons including the fact that we really have no idea where and how many of these self driving vehicles are operating in Texas. It is unclear who will be responsible for accidents and injuries due to an autonomous vehicle’s fault. Self-driving vehicles are not perfect and do, in fact, cause accidents sometimes.

Autonomous cars accident deaths

Autonomous car accidents are becoming more commonplace as more autonomous vehicles infiltrate our roads and three fatal accidents have occurred in the United States since 2016:

  • May 7, 2016 (Florida) – A Tesla driver died while using the autopilot mode on his vehicle. The suggested causewas the vehicle sensors failed to detect a vehicle crossing the road due to not being able to distinguish a white truck from the bright sky.
  • March 18, 2018 (Arizona) – A self-driving Uber struck a pedestrian crossing the street. The suggested cause was that although the car may have detected the pedestrian, it might have failed to distinguish her as a person.
  • March 23, 2018 (California) – A Tesla driver died while using the autopilot mode.The cause is disputed where one theory suggests that the navigation system misread the lane lines and failed to detect a concrete median, then failed to brake the car before it drove into the median. Another theory suggests that the driver ignored multiple “hands on” warnings and did not have his hands on the wheel at the time of the crash as he should have.

Three fatal accidents in three years may not sound terribly high, but those are only fatality accidents allegedly caused by autonomous vehicles and concrete numbers as to how many accidents have been caused by autonomous cars have not been reported and made available.

Autonomous car accident questions

So what happens when you are in an accident caused by an autonomous car? Who is liable? Texas says it is the manufacturer unless another party modifies its system before it is put on the road. How do you know if it has been modified and what if the modification had nothing to do with the cause of the accident? If you have been in an accident with an autonomous car contact the Law Office of Dorothy Hyde to speak with a Dallas car accident attorney. We will help you through this uncharted territory to see that you are fully compensated by the responsible party for your damages and injuries.

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