Will Self-Driving Vehicles Reduce Car Accidents in the Future?

Will Self-Driving Vehicles Reduce Car Accidents in the Future?

Steven Schwartzapfel -Founding Partner Feb 12, 2016

For more than 35 years, Steven Schwartzapfel, the founding member of Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C., has been one of New York’s most prominent personal injury attorneys. Steve represents clients in all types of personal injury cases. His experience, skill, and dedication have enabled Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. to recover hundreds of millions of dollars for their clients.

Self-Driving Vehicles

Driverless cars are no longer something of the future – in fact, you may have shared the road recently with a self-driving vehicle. Researchers are testing their driverless vehicles to help fine-tune their programming and hopefully, prepare the world for the official release of these vehicles very soon.

While they sound great upfront – allowing individuals to basically sit back, relax and let their vehicle do the driving – will these self-driving vehicles reduce the number of car accidents we see in New York City? The answer may surprise you.

A Higher Crash Rate

According to an article published recently by Insurance Journal, driverless vehicles have tallied up quite the number of accidents – almost double that of human drivers. This isn’t because these vehicles are dangerous; in fact, they are extremely safe and that is part of the problem. Self-driving vehicles are specifically programmed to follow the law, which means driving at the proper speed limit, merging when it is allowed, etc. While this sounds like the right way to program a safe, robot-operated vehicle, the issue is that following the rules of the road creates potential hazards – especially when most drivers are not following these basic rules.

But, should the individuals programming these self-driving vehicles really train them to break the law and drive like everyone else? In a perfect world, if everyone followed the law, there wouldn’t be any accidents. But, in reality, people do go faster than the speed limit, they are distracted and they also have to use their driving skills to maneuver when necessary – something driverless vehicles lack.

For example, a driver knows when to be aggressive. They know how to merge onto a highway cluttered full of vehicles – which may require allowing less space than ideal between vehicles. A driverless vehicle doesn’t have this skill. Instead, it will slow down or stop because it cannot enter the highway safely – forcing the human observer in the vehicle to take over.

More Accidents, but Less Fault

While driverless vehicles have been in double the number of accidents compared to vehicles with human drivers, the driverless vehicles were not at fault for those accidents. Instead, it was the other driver. Often these self-driving cars are rear-ended by distracted or overly aggressive drivers. Not one accident has been caused by the driverless vehicle itself.

So, will driverless vehicles cause fewer accidents? Right now they cause more, but that is only because they are sharing the road with humans. If all vehicles were self-driving and obeyed the law, there wouldn’t be any accidents. But as long as there are human drivers, self-driving cars will prove to do little to accident rates in the United States.

What if You Are in a Real Car Accident?

If you are in a car accident with another driver and you have sustained serious injuries, contact the attorneys at Schwartzapfel® Lawyers P.C. today. We can assist you with your accident claim and ensure you get the money and benefits you deserve for your injuries. Call us at 1-877-737-4806 to schedule a free consultation or fill out an online contact form with your questions.

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