Self-driving cars are being tested throughout the US and hitting the roadways in some areas. This has led to several questions, including if these cars will be insured for liability issues. Liability insurance is a tricky matter that can be difficult to understand. More simply stated, will your car insurance company cover you for damages if you’re in an accident caused by your self-driving car?
What Are Self-Driving Cars?
Self-driving cars are rapidly emerging as one of the most debated topics in today’s society. Not too long ago, it was something that was only a myth, seen in sci-fi movies or TV shows. But now, it is becoming a reality. The fact that the term self-driving car is now being taken seriously by the media and governments shows how far this technology has come.
Self-driving cars are a form of autonomous vehicle technology. An autonomous vehicle is any vehicle that can operate without the need for human interaction. This means that a self-driving car can drive itself without any input from the driver and can do so safely.
Self-driving cars use a combination of sensors to monitor their surroundings and react accordingly. These sensors include cameras, radar, LIDAR (light detection and ranging), and ultrasonic sensors. The sensors allow the car to be aware of its environment to avoid obstacles and keep track of other vehicles on the road.
Self-driving cars use navigation maps and automatic lane change technologies to work together seamlessly as one system:
Navigation Map: Maps are used to determine where the car is located, where it needs to go next, which roads are open or closed due to construction, etc. This is done by using data from GPS satellites.
Automatic Lane detection: When navigating through traffic, automatic lane detection allows your self-driving car to change lanes automatically when needed – without input from you!
Self-driving cars are set to take over the roads within the next ten years, but many legal and ethical issues still need to be addressed. One of those issues is determining liability in accidents involving self-driving cars.
While self-driving has been on the road for some time, they are still relatively new to the market. That means that there is little legal precedent for how these accidents will be handled. However, there are several cases where the courts have already determined autonomous vehicle liability.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed guidelines for how self-driving cars should be operated on public streets. They are just recommendations and not regulations. So they are currently not applicable.
Who is Responsible for Self-Driving Cars?
It’s a question that’s been on everyone’s mind since the first self-driving car accident. Well, it turns out that there isn’t just one answer. It depends on who you ask.
For example, some people may say that the driver should be responsible no matter what kind of vehicle they’re in or what kind of technology is driving it.
Others may conclude that the manufacturer should always be responsible even if they didn’t make the vehicle itself but just installed its autonomous systems.
This is one of those situations where it’s best to go back to basics. The answer revolves around liability claims. There are three different types of liability claims that can be made when there is an accident involving a self-driving car:
- Product liability
- Breach of warranty
In the United States, NCSL has not renewed the federal laws regulating the use of self-driving cars. However, many states have started passing legislation on the matter, and consumers must know their rights under these laws.
What to do if Involved in an Accident
If you’re involved in a self-driving car accident, you first should make sure everyone is safe. If anyone is hurt, call 911 and help them (if not a victim) get to safety as soon as possible.
Next, contact the police and file an official report. The police will handle towing your car away from the scene of the accident, so you don’t have to worry about it being damaged further.
Finally, you must collect all the information from the other drivers involved in the accident. That is their names and contact information so they can be contacted later when insurance claims need to be filed. You’ll also want to take pictures of their vehicles, license plates, and any damage that occurred during the crash so that these photos can be submitted with insurance claims.
If self-driving cars become widespread in the future, there could be an increase in car accidents. Some analysts project that self-driving cars will cause more accidents than traditional vehicles. This is because computer-driven cars are programmed with an algorithm to take the safest route possible. This also means they often react to situations differently than humans would. Not only will third-party companies take the blame for these crashes, but also manufacturers of the vehicles and the cars’ programmers.