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Self-driving cars' greatest hazards come from human drivers

The dawn of the self-driving car is upon us, and commuters can expect to see more and more of these vehicles on the streets of New York. Self-driving cars are programmed to drive carefully and obey all laws. They have been designed to err on the side of caution on every occasion, which means that they tend to drive slowly to meet speed limits and stop often. However, numbers have shown that the self-driving cars, have been involved in accidents at twice the rate of human drivers. Researchers believe this is may be caused by the cars' law-obeying behavior, which can be unexpected by human drivers.

For example, there have been instances when a self-driving car has stopped completely at a stop sign or red light, then moved slowly into traffic and been struck from behind by an inattentive driver. There has been at least one minor accident reported in circumstances such as this.

There was also an incident in which a police officer stopped a self-driving car for going 10 miles under the speed limit in a 35-mile-per-hour zone. A ticket was not cited, but the officer did offer a warning to the two engineers inside the vehicle.

The safe operation of self-driving cars may be considered to be the responsibility of the manufacturer. If these new vehicles fail to navigate the street without incident, then the manufacturer might be held liable. An attorney may be able to help anyone who has been in an auto accident with a self-driving car, as they could assist in determining exactly what damage was done to them and their property in order to file a civil suit against the car manufacturer. The attorney may also be able to represent them if there is a need to negotiate with the representatives of the manufacturer or the court.

Source: Bloomberg, "Humans Are Slamming Into Driverless Cars and Exposing a Key Flaw", Keith Naughton, Dec. 17, 2015

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