Challenges for self-driving vehicles in preventing accidents

by | Jul 17, 2020 | personal injury

Some Louisiana drivers may have heard that self-driving vehicles will drastically reduce motor vehicle accidents by eliminating human error. However, new research suggests that significant crash prevention may be more complex.

A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that while most crashes do ultimately happen because of driver error, many of the mistakes leading up to the crash might not be prevented by self-driving cars. The improved perception and invulnerability to becoming incapacitated that makes autonomous vehicles safer would not have helped in two-thirds of the crashes researchers examined. For those accidents, cars would also have to be programmed to make safety a bigger priority than convenience or speed.

The 5 Identified Areas Of Error

Researchers identified five different categories of errors. Incapacitation involves such issues as driving drunk and falling asleep. Driver mistakes in controlling the vehicle were another category. Some errors were predictive, as in incorrectly predicting a driver’s speed or behavior, while others were errors of planning and decisions, such as driving too fast for conditions. Mistakes such as distracted driving or visibility issues were errors of perception. While these and errors involving incapacity can be solved by self-driving vehicles, the others could be more challenging to address.

Although roads full of self-driving cars are still in the future, it is already possible to purchase vehicles that have a number of autonomous safety features, such as braking. Unfortunately, accidents continue to happen despite these features, and when they do, people can be seriously injured. If someone has been seriously injured by a negligent driver, legal action may be warranted. A personal injury award may cover the cost of medical expenses as well as other expenses, such as lost income.