On behalf of Carman & Bevington, P.A. posted in Motor Vehicle Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 1,550 people die each year due to fatal car crashes related to drowsy driving. Given the high numbers of fatalities and serious injuries related to drowsy driving, commentators and transportation experts are developing driverless cars as a possible solution.
As described in The Infrastructurist, today’s driverless cars are a “technological cocktail” of a variety of tools (computers, cameras, lasers and GPS) that allow these vehicles – with researchers ready behind the wheel to correct mistakes – to travel considerable distances facing multiple types of road conditions, including unpredictable human drivers.
Google’s driverless vehicle fleet crossed the Golden Gate Bridge without human assistance. More recently, a pair of driverless vans developed by the Italian company Vislab successfully completed the 8,000 mile journey from Italy to China without any major mishaps.
Google’s and Vislab’s efforts are a positive step toward an intelligent network of driverless vehicles that could cut down on car crashes that occur as a result of drowsy driving and texting while driving.
One such fatal crash occurred on an Oklahoma highway in 2009. According to the Washington Post, what was initially a relatively minor accident became a multiple car pile-up that killed 10 people and injured another six. The initial accident blocked the left lane, stalling traffic for a quarter mile. Then along came a big rig with the truck driver asleep behind the wheel.
While a number of unanswered questions remain – such as who is liable for accidents in computer-driven cars – it seems that falling asleep at the wheel in a driverless car is much better than the alternative.
Sources: Are We Ready for Driverless Cars?