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Car Accidents / Jul 08,2024

The Rise of Assisted Driving Vehicles (ADVs)

With the advancements in technology and the rise in popularity of Tesla, more and more vehicle brands are launching their own fleets of assisted driving vehicles. Although this technology isn’t perfect, there are many benefits to it. Benefiting the elderly and those with special needs, automated cars can provide reliable transport and lower pollution as most of them are also electric. It’s essential also to note that the vehicles offer differing levels of assistance. The five levels are:

  • Momentary assistance: automatic braking and collision warnings
  • Driver assistance: adaptive cruise control and lane change assistance
  • Additional assistance: assisting with steering and braking 
  • Conditional automation: the technology can fully operate the vehicle, but the driver can intervene
  • Full automation: a driver doesn’t even need to be in the driver’s seat

Fully automated vehicles have yet to make their way into private purchases, but they are starting to emerge with taxi companies. As these vehicles start to fill the roads without drivers, the general public must consider many things, mostly those involving liability. Being aware that the cars around you don’t even have a human behind the wheel may drastically change not only the type of insurance coverage you choose but also how you drive.

Understanding Traffic Laws in the Age of ADVs

Where you are located, and your local laws determine everything. As someone who operates a vehicle in your state, it is your responsibility to look up those laws and follow them. That being said, assisted driving vehicles and driverless vehicles and the laws that regulate them vary by state. Some states allow fully automated vehicles, while some mandate that a licensed driver be present and alert in the driver’s seat and ready to intervene. The widespread use of fully automated vehicles is far off, but more and more cars have assist features that track traffic and assist drivers. It’s your job as the driver to ensure that all traffic laws are followed and to intervene if a crash is imminent. 

Legal Questions and Potential Issues

As vehicle technology becomes increasingly more advanced, cars have more ability to maneuver on the road without the assistance of the driver. While these vehicles are designed with the utmost advanced auto safety features to prevent accidents, they are not flawless. All of these bring more questions to mind

-If there is an accident with a self-driving car, who is liable for the damages?

-How will these accidents impact insurance rates?

-Could the driver or the car be held liable if it was in autonomous mode?

-What’s the reaction time for drivers to intervene in a crash?

When there is a car accident, there are almost always two drivers, and liability falls on the shoulders of the one who mainly caused the crash. When an assisted driving vehicle is involved, liability becomes a more complicated finger at which to point the blame. Rather than just relying on driver statements, insurance companies can begin to rely on information provided by electric control modules or “black boxes.” This can also bring into question if liability can fall on the car manufacturer if there was a malfunction in the vehicle that caused the crash rather than the drivers. The manufacturers will not be eager to claim responsibility in these instances. So, it’s important to respond appropriately at the scene of any crash involving an automated vehicle and to have solid legal representation to ensure your rights are protected.

Understanding the Gray Area of ADVs

The nuances of ADVs bring a lot of gray areas when it comes to crashes and laws surrounding the vehicles. There will certainly be times when drivers are held liable like if they remove autopilot, fail to keep up with services and updates, or even are not alert on the road. Ensuring that the vehicle is performing optimally is up to the vehicle's owner, but if there is a crash, how long will it take for that driver to recognize the danger and intervene? Would it be fast enough to prevent a crash? It’s hard to say. Liability can always be contested after a crash, but understanding who is liable is crucial for seeking justice and compensation. If you or a loved one is ever involved in an accident, get help from an experienced car accident lawyer with personal injury experience. 

Staying Safe on the Road with ADVs

While human error is the most common cause of accidents on the road, assisted driving vehicles raise many questions for everyone on the road. ADVs can’t become tired or drive under the influence, and they could even potentially optimize traffic flow, but automated sensors and artificial intelligence aren’t the only things on the road. With human drivers and artificial intelligence sharing the road, it’s important to drive safely for everyone. 

  • Pay attention to your surroundings
  • Follow all traffic laws
  • Brake earlier and don’t speed
  • Avoid unsafe lane changes 
  • Communicate with signals every time you need to maneuver 

When Should You Contact a Car Accident Lawyer?

The aftermath of any crash is emotionally taxing and physically exhausting, but when you include an ADV, it can also become incredibly complex. At Flesch and Beck Law, we have experience handling a variety of accidents, and our goal is for you and your family to recover the maximum compensation so you can heal. We are ready to help you through every step of your claim, including the liability process. Whether the blame falls on the car manufacturer, software developer, or the drivers, determining the liability in these cases is essential to ensure that those responsible and you are compensated. Our dedicated legal team is here to provide your family with compassionate and experienced legal support. Contact us today if you need support during this difficult time.

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