With several manufacturers already testing this concept on the open road, self-driving cars are sure to become more popular in the future. At first glance, it may seem like having a self-driving car would reduce the risk of accidents by eliminating driver error, which is a common cause of crashes. However, studies have shown that the opposite is actually true. Even though self-driving cars are less likely to be the cause of an accident, they are more likely to be involved in one.
About the Study
The study in question was conducted by Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak at the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute in 2013. It compared a small pool of self-driving test cars to approximately 270 million conventional cars. The self-driving cars included in the study had logged around 1.2 million miles on the road, while the conventional cars logged trillions of driving miles over the study period.
The researchers found that the self-driving test cars were involved in automobile accidents five times more often than the conventional cars. The injury rate in accidents was four times higher. Because accidents involving conventional cars often go unreported, some adjustments were made to the initial data to compensate for this issue. Even after the adjustments, the rate of accidents involving self-driving cars was still twice as high as the rate for conventional cars.
The study on self-driving cars was not without limitations. The number of self-driving cars included in the study was very small compared to the number of conventional cars included. In fact, the total number of accidents for self-driving cars was only 11, eight of which occurred in California.
In almost every accident, another car crashed into the self-driving car. No accidents occurred because of any problem with the self-driving car, and humans were always in the car to respond to any such problem if it ever did occur. In addition, because the accidents often occurred at low speeds, the injuries were always minor.
Understanding the Trend
Based on the results of this study, it seems that self-driving cars are less likely to cause accidents. However, if the results are correct, they are more likely to be involved in an accident caused by another driver. It is possible that this trend occurs because self-driving cars aren’t able to react to mistakes made by other drivers in the same way a human can. For example, if another driver runs a stop sign, a human may be able to recognize the mistake and react to it more effectively than a self-driving car.
Regardless of the reason for the trend, the results of this study indicate that an increase in the number of self-driving cars on the road may lead to an increase in the number of car accidents. Even if the injuries are minor, any car accident can still lead to expensive medical bills, lost wages and other problems for the victim. If you have been involved in a car accident, you need to consult an experienced attorney who understands how these cases work and can make sure that you get the compensation you deserve. Please contact The Law Office of Ronald M. Scherban, P.C. today to schedule a consultation.