BIRMINGHAM, AL, October 25, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/
-- California recently enacted legislation creating guidelines and regulations for self-driving cars. Proponents of automated cars hope those regulations will eventually allow motor vehicles to use wireless signals, cameras, and GPS technology to replace human drivers. Those same proponents are quick to claim that, without human drivers, autonomous automobiles eliminate human error and reduce the overall potential for car accidents.
While it is unlikely that Alabama will pass similar regulations in the near future, Birmingham car wreck attorney
Whit Drake is concerned about the safety claims regarding driverless cars.
"Although self-driving cars could potentially eliminate some human error, I'm surprised that no one has discussed the risks of accidents caused by mechanical or technological error," noted the founding partner of Drake Law Firm. "As with any machine, self-driving cars present a risk of mechanical failure. As a machine becomes more automated, the chance of that machine malfunctioning increases," added Mr. Drake.
California's law requires a human driver to be behind the wheel to take over in the event that a self-driving car malfunctions. Drake warns that even with such a requirement, there is potential for "human error" if such stand-by drivers are not alert, attentive, and/or capable of recognizing a problem before an accident occurs. "We are already experiencing a national problem with distracted driving
. Can we expect an individual to pay adequate attention to the road while traveling in a self-driving car?" asked Drake.
Drake warns that, despite all the excitement surrounding driverless cars, claims of "reduced risks" by smart car proponents may be premature. "Self-driving cars may simply change the origin of the risk of an automobile accident from human error to technological error without reducing the overall likeliness of a collision."
The key, yet unasked, question regarding self-driving cars is whether shifting the risk of an auto accident from humans to machines will actually lead to less accidents and safer roadways. "In reality, the true extent of a driverless car's safety benefits will not be fully understood for many years," stated Drake.
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