Perhaps when you were a teenager learning to drive, you used to practice driving your dad’s old pickup truck or your grandma’s old station wagon on country roads. Operating old cars required a certain technique to operate each part, when to shift gears on the automatic transmission, how hard to turn the steering wheel, what to do if the key got stuck in the ignition, maneuvers to make it easier to roll the windows up and down. The new generation of cars is much more technologically advanced. If you bought a car from the current model year, you might find that it is nearly as smart as the smart phone on which you depend for information, entertainment, and communication with the outside world. Of course, all the new features can serve to make cars safer, but they can be dangerous if drivers misuse them. Autonomous vehicle technology, especially, is a double-edged sword. If you have been injured in an accident involving an autonomous vehicle, contact a Louisiana car accident lawyer.
Self-Driving Cars Cause Fewer Accidents When You Drive Them
As recently as a decade ago, self-driving cars sounded like a pipe dream, but today some cars come with so many driver-assist features that, in theory, they could virtually drive themselves. Sensors that help your car stay in its lane and know how much pressure to apply to the brake work to prevent accidents by responding to potential hazards even before drivers notice them. The purpose of autonomous vehicle technology is not to encourage distracted driving, though. Companies such as Tesla and Waymo have advertised their vehicles as “autonomous,” “self-driving,” and “smart,” and some drivers have gotten the wrong message and thought that, with a sufficiently sophisticated car, the driver was no longer responsible for paying attention to the road. Unsurprisingly, those drivers have caused many accidents.
In response to this problem, Waymo changed the terminology it uses to describe its smart vehicles in promotional materials. Starting in late 2020, it only refers to its vehicles as “automated” and “autonomous,” not “driverless” or “safe-driving.” “Autonomous” and “automated” imply that the vehicles are capable of responding to input from the environment as well as from the driver. In other words, the cars are programmed to do certain things, but you cannot be sure that you want them to do it in every situation, so you still have to use your human judgment. Meanwhile, “self-driving” and “driverless” imply that the car would be able to reach its destination even if it were unoccupied. None of the autonomous vehicles currently on the road are designed to do that, and people should not use them that way.
Contact Patrick Yancey About Autonomous Vehicle Accidents
If you have suffered serious injuries because the driver who caused your accident was relying on autonomous vehicle technology for something other than its intended purpose, a car accident lawyer can help you. Contact the Law Office of Patrick H. Yancey in Houma, Louisiana to see if you have grounds for a lawsuit.