Opponents of Google’s self-driving vehicle technology have predicted for years that the cars would be a recipe for collision disaster. Now that the first accident reports have come in, however, researchers and the public have learned that the real risk remains the same as it has always been with cars: careless human drivers.
According to a recent USA Today article, Google has reported multiple accidents involving its self-driving cars to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, as well as to regulatory bodies in other states where the cars are being tested.
So far, all 14 reported accidents have one thing in common: they were caused by human error, not a computer mistake.
Google’s self-driving cars have been “practicing” on California roads since 2009, logging nearly 2 million vehicle miles so far.
Fleets have also been placed on the roads in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and other test areas. Although each car has a human occupant who can take over if things go wrong, so far, not a single accident has been caused either by the computer system or the human “backup.”
Instead, crashes involving Google’s self-driving cars appear to be caused entirely by the distraction of drivers in the vehicles that hit them.
In three of the California crashes, the self-driving car was rear-ended by a driver who was too distracted to notice the traffic ahead until it was too late.
In one crash, the distracted human driver rear-ended the Google self-driving car at 17 mph, causing whiplash injuries to the human occupants of both vehicles.
The information the cars provide sheds new light on the problem of distracted driving – one of the many problems Google hopes to address by offering cars that handle the task of driving safely so that the risks of human negligence are reduced.
At the Law Office of David E. Gordon, our Memphis personal injury lawyers are dedicated to protecting the legal rights of our clients while we pursue the compensation they deserve.
If you’ve been injured by another driver’s negligence, contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.