The developers of self-driving cars are promising that these will eliminate all driver errors in the future, and many people in Tennessee have taken the statement at face value. Unfortunately, a study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that self-driving cars have a long way to go before they do that. Automakers themselves need to prioritize safety over speed and driver convenience if they want to achieve their vision.
For the study, researchers analyzed more than 5,000 crashes from the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey. These crashes all entailed emergency medical services and the towing away of at least one vehicle. The driver errors behind these crashes were divided into five categories of which only two, researchers found, would be eliminated by self-driving cars.
The first were sensing and perceiving errors, such as errors caused by distractions or limited visibility. The second were errors from alcohol, drug and medication impairment or another form of incapacitation. Altogether, these errors accounted for 33% of crashes.
Predicting errors, errors in planning and deciding and errors in execution performance were the other three categories. Among the first were included bad judgments of vehicle speeds or gaps in traffic. The second included aggressive driving and driving too fast for road conditions. The third ranged from inadequate maneuvers to overcompensation.
Driver error is to blame for nine out of every 10 crashes, and many of these incidents can give rise to a personal injury case. Victims may want to talk to a lawyer to see how their case would fare under Tennessee’s modified comparative negligence rule. If their degree of fault is less than the defendant’s or completely non-existent, they may be compensated for their medical bills, lost wages and other losses. The lawyer may seek out a reasonable settlement.