Drivers in Florida who look forward to the coming of self-driving cars should know that, at their current stage of development, these cars are not likely to prevent all, or even most, accidents that arise from human error. A recent study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety bears this out.
Researchers reviewed the data on more than 5,000 crashes and divided the driver-related factors behind them into five categories. Of these, self-driving cars that are better able than humans are to identify hazards would only eliminate two: namely, sensing and perceiving errors, such as distracted driving, and errors due to incapacitation, including drug and alcohol impairment.
Since the former were behind 24% of the crashes studied and the latter behind 10%, the IIHS concluded that self-driving cars could prevent just over one third of error-related accidents. This is still a far cry from what automakers have been promising. The other three categories, which were predicting, planning and execution errors, could only be eliminated if automakers start to put safety over speed and convenience.
The vehicles would need to be able to adapt to road conditions, for instance, and take into account the uncertainty about what other drivers will do. Even then, some crashes are due to vehicle failure, such as broken axles, and cannot always be prevented.
Most car collisions are the result of negligence. There are cases where drivers were negligent behind the wheel and cases where they neglected to maintain the vehicle. In either case, those who were harmed as a consequence may have grounds for a claim. Florida is a no-fault state and requires drivers to have personal injury protection coverage. When the “injury threshold” is surpassed, that’s when a third-party insurance claim is possible. Victims may consult a lawyer for more details.