While it may be tempting for owners and passengers of expensive, high-tech vehicles to leave the driving to increasingly smarter cars, Americans should always be wary of the deadly and damaging shortcomings of this new era of self-driving.
Over the past 10 months, federal officials say, nearly “400 crashes in the United States … involved cars using advanced driver assistance technologies,” The New York Times reported of new data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The newspaper noted this of NHTSA’s aggressive efforts to determine the safety of increasingly popular advanced driving systems:
“In 392 incidents recorded by the agency from July 1 last year to May 15, six people died and five were seriously injured. Teslas running on Autopilot, the more ambitious Full Self Driving mode, or one of their associated features have been in 273 crashes. Five of those Tesla crashes were fatal. The data was collected last year as part of an NHTSA order requiring automakers to report crashes involving cars equipped with advanced driver assistance systems. Dozens of manufacturers have rolled out such systems in recent years, including features that let you take your hands off the wheel in certain conditions and help you parallel park. NHTSA’s order was an unusually bold step for the regulator, which has been criticized in recent years for not being more assertive with automakers.
Tesla racked up the most incidents, although the newspaper provided a necessary framework:
“About 830,000 Tesla cars in the United States are equipped with Autopilot or the company’s other driver assistance technologies, which explains why Tesla vehicles account for nearly 70% of reported crashes in the United States. published data…”
To put its data into context, the Federal Security Agency also reported this:
“Ford Motor, General Motors, BMW and others have similar advanced systems that allow hands-free driving in certain highway conditions, but far fewer of these models have been sold. These companies, however, have sold millions of cars worldwide. over the past two decades that are fitted with individual components of driver assistance systems.Components include so-called lane keeping, which helps drivers stay in their lanes, and adaptive cruise control , which adjusts a car’s speed and automatically brakes when traffic slows…. NHTSA found Honda vehicles were involved in 90 incidents and Subarus in 10. Ford, GM, BMW, Volkswagen, Toyota, Hyundai and Porsche in each reported five or less.
The safety agency previously said it was investigating Tesla’s driver assistance technologies on all four available Teslas – the Model S, X, 3 and Y – in model years from 2014 to 2021, reported. The New York Times, separately, adding that “the will examine Autopilot and its various component systems that handle steering, braking, and other driving tasks, as well as a more advanced system that Tesla calls Full Self-Driving.” .
While Tesla and its savvy leader Elon Musk have touted advances in autonomous functionality in electric vehicles, concerns over the safety of the manufacturer’s software are part of what researchers from places like the RAND Corporation think tank have warned for some time now.
Vehicle makers, regulators, politicians and the public, researchers say, have been on a collision course as autonomous vehicles continue to advance, the public clamors for their convenience and potential game-changing uses – even as it predicting tolerance for wreckage, injuries, and deaths attributed to advanced technologies is more difficult.
Gee-whiz thinkers envision a time (soon?) when self-driving vehicles, also equipped with renewable energy sources and state-of-the-art urban planning, could drastically reduce the need for so many vehicles on the road. Instead, fleets of highly energy-efficient, self-driving vehicles would be programmed to transport commuters to work, then rather than sitting parked, they would transport children to school, the elderly to doctor’s appointments , shopping mall shoppers – and more. They would charge during the day, say, by solar power. They would drive everyone home at the end of the day. And, as night fell, they would pour their daytime-acquired renewable energy into homes, serving as battery-like power sources to reduce the need for larger government generation facilities.
This future has not happened. And in the meantime, the nation since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has seen decades of progress in road safety erode. Instead, the country is breaking records for road deaths, especially of pedestrians and cyclists. Drivers suffer serious injuries and die in unacceptable and preventable numbers because they do not wear seat belts and other restraints, and are drowsy, distracted and intoxicated.
In my practice, I see not only the harm patients experience when seeking medical services, but also the damage that can be inflicted on them and their loved ones through motorcycle, car and truck accidents. . We are all one stumble from a curb, a red light blown by a reckless driver, or an inebriated trucker away from having our lives turned upside down by a vehicular nightmare. Too many of us, as my partners and I know, suffer pain, suffering, injury, impairment, and significant personal, professional, and financial chaos due to a motor vehicle accident.
Of course, conventional wisdom suggests that those involved in traffic accidents should work with law enforcement, exchange coverage information, and contact their insurer. In the event of serious incidents, it also makes sense to speak to an experienced lawyer – to protect your rights, including allowing your insurer to work for you and not in their own interests. As manufacturers also advance technology in their products, it can be crucial to have knowledgeable legal counsel to help guide you through the possibility of hardware and software defects on vehicles and whether this affects your case.
We have a lot of work to do to improve the safety of our roads and our various means of transport, taking advantage of the benefits that technological advances can offer without seeing them cause preventable injuries or deaths as innovations are perfected to regular use.