Self-Driving Trucks? New Issues at Stake
If you are hit by an 18-wheeler or semi truck, either of which can be found on almost every road in Florida, it is likely that these oversized vehicles will cause damage to your automobile or to the individuals in your car. Here at Dolman Law Group, we deal with this type of accident every day, and we know how to help our clients recover the damages they deserve.
By now everyone has heard about autonomous cars, but many people may not realize that self-driving entrepreneurs are currently zeroing in on semi trucks. As attorneys, Dolman Law Group strives to stay on the cutting edge of self-driving technology. If you believe that you have been harmed as a result of someone else’s negligence related to an autonomous vehicle, contact our firm today.
What Are Self-Driving Truck Injuries?
Advocates claim that self-driving semi trucks have the potential to improve safety on U.S. highways and interstates. According to a 2015 survey, 4,000 U.S. citizens were involved in fatal crashes with trucks, and approximately 83,000 were involved in damaging large truck crashes. Research has also found that 87 percent of truck accidents can be attributed to driver error in one way or another. As a result, many advocates predict that self-driving trucks may be a solution to this problem.
Despite these hopes, self-driving trucks remain in the testing stage, and only time will tell if autonomous vehicles will actually be safer than their human-driven counterparts. Regulations covering self-driving trucks are still being developed:
- The National Conference of State Legislatures’ online database announces new self-driving truck laws as they come to fruition.
- Only state legislatures have imposed regulations for autonomous trucks, and additional regulations will be needed in the future.
- At this time, the Self Drive Act fails to include any regulations for self-driving trucks.
Despite ongoing efforts to create autonomous truck regulations, the fact remains that self-driving trucks can still pose a danger to other drivers on the roadway.
Who is at Fault?
Determining fault for a vehicle collision is already a challenging task. When autonomous trucks drive into the equation, things get even more confusing.
Liability for a self-driving truck collision may fall on:
- The truck manufacturer
- The truck driver
- The company that owns the truck
- The software operator for the truck
- The local government, depending on the condition of the city’s streets
- The state, depending on the nature of the state’s highways and interstates
While information regarding autonomous vehicles is widely available, for those unfamiliar with self-driven vehicle technology, some key facts are discussed below.
Interestingly, many vehicles that are labeled autonomous are not really self-driving, but rather rely on input from a human behind the steering mechanism, and thus remain susceptible to human error. Alain L. Kornhauser, director of the Transportation Program at Princeton University and chairman of the Princeton Autonomous Vehicle Engineering research group, says that, in the most recent self-driving vehicle accidents, the drivers were at least in part to blame.
While numerous companies have emerged as leaders in the autonomous vehicle market, those focused on self-driving trucks include Uber, Waymo, Tesla, Convoy, and Starsky Robotics, among others. These trucks are already being used or tested in the mining industry, for mail delivery, and for retail package delivery, according to GeoTab. Eventually, the trucking industry could become entirely automated, which would eliminate the almost 1.8 million heavy and tractor-trailer truck driving jobs that currently exist. However, such a high level of automation is still many years away.
The Trust Issue
Determining how to properly regulate self-driving trucks will take time. Federal, state, and local officials will have to work together and use the information that is currently available to make informed decisions.
Deciding how to resolve liability and damages can be even more complex. But when you choose experienced and highly-trained attorneys to assist with your case, you can trust that they will know the law and use all of their skills to protect your rights.
The Dolman Law Group is dedicated to representing individuals who have suffered from personal injuries and families who have experienced wrongful deaths. Our firm has litigated cases involving motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, and other negligent acts.
As self-driving trucks and cars continue to gain traction, you can be assured that the attorneys of the Dolman Law Group have remained up-to-date on every new rule, regulation, and legal decision that involves self-driving vehicles. If an accident does occur, you and your loved ones can look to our firm for information, assistance, and compassion.
At Dolman Law Group, we offer our clients a contingency-based fee arrangement; you will not pay any attorney fees unless we successfully recover on your behalf, whether through settlement or litigation.
Awards and Citations
Matthew Dolman was elected Florida Superlawyer by his colleagues, and is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
Every personal injury client is provided the cell phone number and email address of the attorney managing their case. Accessibility is of the utmost importance to us at Dolman Law Group.
Contact us online by filling out the short form on our contact page. Or, call us at (727) 451-6900 in Clearwater, (727) 222-6922 in St. Petersburg, or by using the telephone numbers listed on our contact page.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765