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Self-driving cars not foolproof

Technology does not always escape the errors that humans make. Google, Inc. released figures on the amount of accidents involving its self-driving cars over six years. These vehicles were in 11 minor crashes over the last six years, including three since September.

Google said that all of the 11 car accidents involved no injuries and minor damage. The accidents occurred over 1.7 million miles of testing involving almost 1 million miles in self-driving mode. The company also stated that its vehicles were never the cause of an accident, according to its report.

Accidents caused by self-driving vehicles may hold serious consequences for Google, traditional manufacturers and other companies that develop this technology. Public and political acceptance of these vehicles would suffer a major setback because the technology is new and has not received acceptance.

The earlier accidents for these cars could also create a serious precedent for financial liability. Each car manufacturer would have tremendous resources, known as deep pockets, to pay compensation in a lawsuit. California, for example, also requires each manufacturer to maintain $5 million worth of insurance.

Companies could also seek to settle lawsuits generously to avoid bad publicity. Obtaining proof is also easier because cars are required to record and store the last 30 seconds of data before an accident.

Pedestrian accidents could also lead to higher compensation. Cases could become product liability matters where the vehicles did not perform as reasonably expected.

This new technology may spread throughout the country but will, like existing automobiles who are sometimes subject to recall, pose risks for Connecticut motorists. Victims of an accident involving a negligent driver or a defective vehicle should seek prompt legal assistance to help obtain compensation for losses in an accident.

Source: Associated Press, "Self-driving cars can't avoid accidents on California roads," Justin Pritchard, May 12, 2015

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