There is a team of attorneys at the law offices of William Mattar that is constantly researching car safety with a special focus on the new category of self-driving cars. Accident attorney, Randy Mallaber, from William Mattar talks with Emily Lampa on this topic.
Who is liable if something should happen? Randy says it depends. He says driverless cars, sort of have levels of automatization that goes from zero to five with zero being no autonomy at all and five being completely autonomous and if it is completely autonomous, a lot of times the driver wouldn’t have even the opportunity to intervene because there is no steering wheel. Most self-driving cars now, all them really, require human intervention. He says when you get one and read the owner’s manual and get the instructions there are a load of warnings and disclaimers and requirements of driver intervention, so you can expect that the driver is going to most often bear responsible for the happening of the collision. He says that said, if there is some failure in the software or the sensors that did cause or contribute to the collision, then there could be some liability on the manufacturer as well.
What are some of the safety issues we should know if we are thinking about purchasing these self-driving cars? Randy tells Emily that you should realize you are the operator of the car; that you are primarily responsible, and the automatization is there to help you, the computer is always looking, the little blindspot lights, it’s always looking, but you really can’t over rely on that. You should view it as something to help you operate the car, something to help, if you stay in your lane and if there are people next to you so you shouldn’t merge over, but you really need to recognize that, certainly at this point, these aids are here to help you but you are the number one person responsible for operating the car and paying attention and knowing what you are doing. Randy says over-reliance would be the number one thing he would think about.
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