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Self-Driving Cars - A Threat to Pedestrians?

The futuristic world of autonomous cars is already here, and California is competing in the global race to make fully autonomous cars the norm. Some of the cars zooming past on your commute home may be partially autonomous, and the self-driving cars from the movies are not far off from being on your neighborhood roads.

Any moving car poses a threat to pedestrians, as auto accidents can happen for endless reasons. No matter if a human or computer is driving the vehicle, the average car still weighs about 3,000 pounds. Any accident with a pedestrian will be a devastating event that could lead to substantial mental, physical, and financial distress.

Who Is At Fault?

Determining the liability of a pedestrian accident with a self-driving car is complicated. In accidents with cars entirely controlled by humans, it is usually the driver at fault. In the case of a commercial truck accident, it isn’t always the driver. The cargo loaders, manufacturing company, or trucking company could be liable for negligence.

Self-driving cars take away the possibility of human error; however, they present their own problems. Cyber-attacks, software malfunctions, and fires from batteries are a few inherent dangers of self-driving cars. In a split-second decision during a crash and option of hitting a dog or a child, will the AI (artificial intelligence) of a self-driving car know the difference between the moving objects? These are all real concerns at play by the muddled responsibility of a human driver and/or AI.

It is also important to note that there isn’t always a clear line between human driving and computer driving cars. Due to a lack of regulations, many marketing campaigns hosted by car manufacturers and dealers have jumbled the levels, confusing consumers.

The 6 Levels of Self-Driving Car Capabilities

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has designated six levels of autonomy.

  • Level 0: All major systems are controlled by humans

  • Level 1: Certain systems, such as cruise control or automatic braking, may be controlled by the car, one at a time
  • Level 2: The car offers at least two simultaneous automated functions, like acceleration and steering, but requires humans for safe operation
  • Level 3: The car can manage all safety-critical functions under certain conditions, but the driver is expected to take over when alerted
  • Level 4: The car is fully-autonomous in some driving scenarios, though not all
  • Level 5: The car is completely capable of self-driving in every situation

You or a Loved One a Victim of a Self-Driving Car Accident?

Pedestrians face tremendous risks whenever they venture onto public roads and sidewalks or find themselves near bicyclists, electric scooters, self-driving cars, automobiles, and so forth. An accident can happen at any time. If any of these parties are negligent, it can spell emotional, physical, and financial disaster for an innocent pedestrian.

Based in San Francisco, we are in the technology metropolis of the world and specialize in complex cases that autonomous technology presents. Our pedestrian accident lawyers are backed by an extensive list of awards and recognitions, secured over $1,000,000,000 in compensation, and obtained record-setting results in several states. At Bostwick & Peterson, we know-how to help clients fight for the compensation they deserve.

Let’s get to work. Please get in touch with us for a free and confidential consultation: (888) 831-8448 or fill out this online form to get started.