While self-driving cars are not yet seen in Louisiana, they are being extensively tested in California. On Feb. 14, one of Google's self-driving vehicles was involved in an accident where the technology was found at fault. Google's self-driving cars had been in 17 accidents previously, but the computer system had never been found to be responsible.
The vehicle, a Lexus 450 hybrid SUV, had been driving in the right lane about to turn right when it moved to the center of the lane to avoid sandbags that had been placed around a storm drain. A bus coming from behind scraped the left side of the car. No injuries were reported as a result of the accident. The Google SUV was going about 2 mph, while the bus was going about 15 mph.
The accident likely happened because the human driver thought the SUV was going to yield while the technology thought the bus was going to yield. The company stated that from now on, the vehicles would understand that buses and other large vehicles would be less likely to yield to them.
When self-driving cars become commercially available, there could be a huge shift in how personal injury accident cases are handled. When an accident is caused by a careless driver, the person who sustained injuries will typically seek compensation from the at-fault motorist. When self-driving cars cause an accident, the company that designed the technology could ultimately be held responsible. The good news is that there may be fewer insurance problems caused by hit-and-run drivers. There should also be a reduction in accidents caused by distracted drivers.