Autonomous vehicles are still, largely, a dream. However, self-driving modes are rather prevalent, and not just in Teslas. Honda alone says that they have over 6 million vehicles with some self-driving feature. But, both autonomous vehicles and self-driving features, while convenient, still have motor vehicle accidents.
NHTSA data on autonomous vehicle crashes
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), between July of last year and May of this year, there were 130 autonomous vehicle crashes. However, none of these car accidents were serious. Autonomous vehicles refer to those vehicles that operate entirely without human intervention. Some do not even have steering wheels, and they are exceedingly rare, except in California, where most autonomous vehicles and technology is being developed in the United States.
What about self-driving features?
During that same July-to-May period, the NHTSA stated that about 400 motor vehicle accidents occurred where one of the drivers was utilizing a self-driving feature. In those accidents, five people were killed and another six were seriously injured.
Accident statistics are not all inclusive
In total, these 530 accidents reported by the NHTSA are not all inclusive. This means that there may have been many more car accidents that involved autonomous vehicles or a self-driving feature. Some customers have even tried to self-report, but the NHTSA does not accept all of these submissions. As a result, while these data give us an idea that these types of vehicles are not 100% safe, we do not know the full scope of the issues.
What happens if I’m involved in one of these accidents?
While California may be the hotbed for autonomous vehicles, Brooklyn, New York, has its fair share of both autonomous vehicles and cars with self-driving features. And, if you are involved in a car accident with either, the law is largely the same as any other car accident. If there is a driver, they could be held responsible.
However, they may blame the technology, which would just add the auto manufacturer to your personal injury lawsuit. For an autonomous vehicle, the company that owns the vehicle, as well as the manufacturer, would be named in the lawsuit. If there was a driver in the vehicle, they would also need to be named in the lawsuit.