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Self-driving cars may not eliminate most driver errors

On Behalf of | Jul 9, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

You may have a personal injury case on your hands if you were seriously injured by a negligent driver in New Hampshire. A successful case depends, though, on having proof of driver error.

Nine out of 10 accidents are due to driver error. Now, many people believe that once self-driving cars become available, there will be no more of such accidents. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), though, says that this is highly unlikely in the present circumstances.

What errors can self-driving cars prevent?

The IIHS studied over 5,000 crashes from NHTSA’s National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey as well as the errors that were behind them. It then placed those errors under these five categories:

• Sensing and perceiving errors
• Errors in prediction
• Planning and deciding errors
• Execution and performance errors
• Errors stemming from incapacitation

If self-driving cars can identify road hazards better than people can, it will eliminate sensing and perceiving errors. Errors from incapacitation, such as alcohol intoxication, can be avoided as well. Yet these two categories only accounted for about 34% of crashes.

What automakers need to think about

Prediction errors include incorrect judgments of traffic gaps and vehicle speeds. Planning errors include aggressive driving and following too closely to the vehicle in front. Execution errors range from inadequate maneuvers to overcompensation.

To prevent these errors, automakers need to prioritize safety over speed or drivers’ convenience. The car must be able to slow down when road conditions are dangerous, take into account low visibility and high pedestrian traffic and much more. But, as mentioned above, not all accidents are due to driver error. The IIHS said that crashes arising from vehicle failure, such as blown tires and bad axles, cannot necessarily be avoided.

Holding the other driver responsible

Since you were injured through the actions of a human driver, your personal injury case will not have to deal with any complexities around self-driving cars. Still, it can be hard to file a claim and be compensated for all your losses; you could make a number of mistakes that weaken the case. You may want an attorney to help you with each step.