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What happens when self-driving cars crash?

On Behalf of | Oct 11, 2021 | Car Accidents

We may not see a lot of driverless cars in New Jersey, but many vehicles on the roads have autonomous features. That’s because, although autonomous technology exists, the concept of a completely autonomous self-driving car is still rife with problems.

Driverless cars still need drivers

So-called autonomous vehicles haven’t been perfected yet, so they still require human oversight. Tesla’s Autopilot feature, for example, is supposed to be used only with an active driver that is ready to take over if something goes wrong. Tesla has denied blame for fatal accidents involving Autopilot, stating that driver supervision is required.

In April, two people were killed while test-driving a Tesla car using Autopilot while no one was behind the wheel. Other self-driving cars, including one made by Uber, have been involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents.

Liability for accidents

While the manufacturers of autonomous vehicles are quick to blame human error for crashes, they may have some liability as well. If a car was advertised as a self-driving vehicle, for example, the manufacturer might be liable for accidents.

Autonomous car manufacturers must be very careful in how they advertise their vehicles to prevent misuse. As cars become more and more autonomous, instructions and warning labels will become even more important.

What to do if you get into an autonomous car accident

If you are involved in an accident with an autonomous vehicle, you should react the same way that you would in any other crash. Don’t leave the scene, get to safety, make sure everyone is okay, and call the police. If you’re able to, take photographic evidence of the crash scene and collect license plate numbers. Liability may be complicated, but you should contact your insurance provider as soon as possible.