As the race to create the latest and greatest driverless car continues with major automakers and tech companies pumping billions of dollars into the effort, the debate continues about how safe these vehicles are right now. According to a CBS interview with Kevin Delaney, editor-in-chief and co-CEO of Quartz, when it comes to fully driverless vehicles, “we’re heading towards hell.”
Safety Improvements Needed
Delaney tells CBS that these autonomous vehicles are not yet safe. He said there are five levels of autonomous vehicle safety according to the U.S. government certification. And right now, at best, he says, we’re at level two. This means that even when there are autonomous or semi-autonomous features in vehicles, we need drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and stay alert in order to avoid accidents.
That’s not the only problem. What researchers have found is that when people have access to cars driving that require less effort and money, they actually drive a lot more. So, the traffic that we’re looking at today on our roadways could get a lot worse. Delaney said it’s time to look at solutions right now before we get these cars on the road. One solution, he says, is to introduce autonomous vehicles in waves, starting with lower-risk innovations such as buses that travel at very low speeds.
Another solution is “platooning,” the practice of having a human drive one truck with an autonomous truck following close behind. There also needs to be a change in policy, Delaney said. Right now, we don’t have a whole lot of guidance coming out of Washington D.C. Safety in driverless cars is being left to automakers, which is not a good place to be.
Driverless Cars and Safety
Our auto defect attorneys who represent the rights of injured victims and their families strongly believe that driverless cars should not be put on the roadway before they are ready for primetime. If we are in stage two or the five stages that need to be fulfilled before autonomous vehicles are safe, those vehicles should not even be tested on public roadways. We should be testing them on a racetrack when lives will not be put in danger.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of driving an autonomous vehicle or being struck by one, please understand that you have rights. You may be able to seek compensation for your injuries, damages and losses. Please contact an experienced auto defect lawyer who can help you pursue your legal rights.