What if Self Driving Cars Lead to More Accidents on City Roads?
MARIETTA, Georgia. One writer for the Atlantic claims that a driverless car future has the potential to eliminate the waste that modern day driving produces. The writer notes that in major cities, there are approximately four empty parking spaces for every household, meaning that there is quite a bit of unutilized real estate going to cars. Yet, when it comes to driverless cars, the personal vehicle could theoretically be eliminated entirely. Households could switch to lower-cost services like self-driving ride shares. Some companies are envisioning a future for cars where people can sit in mobile Starbucks stores drinking coffee, or where travelers can stay in self-driving hotel rooms, arriving at their destinations in the morning.
Yet, like any driver safety issue, how self-driving cars shape and change American cities will largely depend on how urban planners rise to the new challenge. If companies want to set up self-driving coffee shops, there will need to be roads out there to accommodate them. If there are wider, larger vehicles taking up city space, city planners will need to think about how these autonomous vehicles will interact with pedestrians and bicyclists.
Much of how humans interact with self-driving vehicles remains to be studied. In fact, Wired recently reported on a large-scale research effort by MIT to study how people interact with their semi-autonomous vehicles. The reality is that scientists don’t fully know which aspects of these semi-autonomous vehicles pose the greatest risks to users. Scientists also want to study whether users come to more fully trust the vehicles, ignoring manufacturers’ requirements that drivers remain focused on the road while driver assistance is in use. Insurance companies also have an interest in how drivers use these vehicles and want to better understand where the vehicles increase and lower risk.
How city planners choose to incorporate self-driving cars into the heart of cities will determine the future livability of cities, safety, and accident prevention. Will self-driving cars be incorporated in a way that keeps cities pedestrian-safe and bike-safe? Will the cars encourage a return to denser urban centers? Planned properly, self-driving vehicles could become a way to bring public transit to cities that previously didn’t have it. Or, self-driving cars could lead to unprecedented levels of congestion.
Self-driving cars will change the ways we drive and commute. They also will likely bring changes to personal injury law, as the responsibility for road safety potentially shifts from individual drivers to companies that manufacture the car. Amanda Hall Injury Law are personal injury lawyers in Marietta, Georgia who are closely watching how self-driving cars are changing the insurance and personal injury landscape. Today, whether you are driving in a semi-autonomous vehicle, a vehicle with driver assist features, or are driving on your own, the responsibility still remains with the driver to pay attention to the road and act safely. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident, consider reaching out to our firm.
Amanda Hall Injury Law
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