Driver Assistance Features And Liability

Car manufacturers are working on self-driving technology even as you read this, and a growing list of driver-assistance features are making their way into each new generation of vehicles. However, a completely hands-off self-driving car is still a long ways off, and there’s reason to believe it will never fully come about. Even if self-driving vehicles manage to become safer and more reliable than the average human driver, there’s a little thing called “liability” that will keep drivers at the wheel for years to come.

The Responsibility Of Good Driving


There are some commercial products and some activities that come with a certain amount of risk. If you chop an onion with a knife you have to accept that you might cut your hand, and if you drive a vehicle you have to accept that you might run into another car hit a tree, or go over a cliff. If something like this happens, nine times out of ten it’s the driver’s fault and the driver’s insurance has to pay for the property damage, hospital bills, and other damages.

The Responsibility Of Self-Driving


A fully automated self-driving car doesn’t need a driver, at least in theory. If that’s the case, then the person in the front-left seat isn’t a driver responsible for staying safe on the road, they’re a passenger who’s along for the ride just as much as the people in the back row. If no one inside the car is responsible for its safety, the car’s manufacturer is responsible instead. So if an accident happens, the manufacturer has to be the one at fault.

The Liability Of Self-Driving


When a product fails to live up to the promises its manufacturer makes, that product is defective and the buyer can sue the company for damages. A completely self-driving car should be able to move between two points safely with no input from a driver, and if it causes an accident then it’s defective. With drivers in charge, the responsibility of traffic accidents is distributed between everyone involved. If manufacturers were in charge, the cost of every accident would be on them. Because of this, self-driving cars have to be better than just humans—they have to be virtually perfect.

The Realistic Goals Of Driver Assistance


Self-driving cars may need to be perfect before they show up on city streets, but until then automakers are developing all kinds of driver “assistance” features that can take limited control from the driver to do things like brake suddenly, stay in one lane, keep pace with traffic, or even parallel park. However, all of these features come with warnings that say the driver is ultimately responsible for the car, and you can turn off the features or override them easily. This means the driver is still liable for their driving skill, although future lawsuits may clarify this point.

Because of liability issues, it’s very likely that even after production cars can drive themselves, manufacturers will insist that a driver still sit at the controls and keep at least one hand on the wheel at all times. That’s good news for professional truck drivers, but it’s bad news for anyone waiting for that self-driving dream car. Until that day you should stay safe, drive carefully, and don’t rely too much on intentionally unreliable driver assistance features.


 

Client Testimonials

Attorney David Goldman has been exceptional in the process of helping me through the case. He has always been easy to reach, whether by phone or email, and has thorough knowledge and explains clearly in depth so you feel safe and confident in your lawyer

I used Michael Babboni and his paralegal, Nicole Moore for a legal matter. They went above and beyond my expectations. During the entire process there was constant communication with both Michael and Nicole. They were extremely organized and on top of my case, which I am very grateful for. Michael truly had my best interests at heart and he was very genuine. I plan on referring Michael to all family and friends and will continue to use him in the future.

I dealt most with Mr. Fernandez. I didn’t know a lot about this process. He took the time to speak with me individually, in person, to explain everything. It was very helpful to actually know and understand the process and what to expect. He closed my case quickly, which was nice that it was not prolonged! I appreciated his hard work and getting me what I felt I deserved after my car accident. I highly recommend him to anyone who needs an honest and reliable lawyer to assist you with your case!

I hired Mr. Walsh after an automobile accident this past March. He and his entire staff were extremely professional. They kept me informed every step of the way and settled my case in a timely manner. Thank you so much for your help.

Get Your Free Case Review

Fill out my online form.

Law Offices Near You

Sarasota Office

Sarasota

941-954-1234

3550 S Tamiami Trail, 3rd Floor Sarasota Florida 34239

Bradenton Office

Bradenton

941-752-7000

5291 Office Park Blvd. Bradenton Florida 34203

St. Petersburg Office

St. Petersburg

727-381-9200

6446 Central Avenue St. Petersburg Florida 33707

Venice Office

Venice

941-496-9555

3986 S. Tamiami Trail Venice Florida 34293

Englewood Office

Englewood

941-474-4800

2960 S. McCall Rd Englewood Florida 34224

Port Charlotte Office

Port Charlotte

941-613-1141

3986 Tamiami Trail Port Charlotte Florida 33952

Arcadia Office

Arcadia

863-494-0122

10 South DeSoto Avenue Arcadia Florida 34266

Fort Myers Office

Fort Myers

239-332-0770

8359 Beacon Blvd Fort Myers Florida 33907

Lakeland Office

Lakeland

863-683-5600

5137 S. Lakeland Dr. Lakeland Florida 33813

Experienced Injury Lawyers Fighting to Make Them Pay!


 
×