Google is at the forefront of data and its management, so when Google studies automobile accidents and safety, we should listen and learn.
While cars that drive themselves might be widely available in the not-so-distant future, manufacturers like Google are still in the testing phase for autonomous vehicles. In the meantime we are stuck with good old gasoline and human drivers. Still even “Smart” self-driving cars have accidents. Google reported that its self-driving cars had two accidents back in April. The fact that self-driving cars arrive in the era of big data and analytics allows those of us in the consumer protection community a unique opportunity to receive and analyze data in real time and from the beginning. Safety-conscious data nerds like us at Koester & Bradley are excited.
The April accidents were minor and resulted in no injuries, and the autonomous cars were not to blame for either crash. One vehicle hit a stationary Google Lexus while the other collision occurred when a vehicle traveling at a low speed rear-ended a Google car as it stopped to yield to traffic approaching from the left. At least in looking at these situations it appears that HUMAN error takes the cake for the main cause of auto wrecks in the United States and this is supported by the data.
Granted, Google’s efforts to pioneer human-free car technology is not completely altruistic as the company will certainly reap a huge profit, but all the same the move toward elimination of human error is both laudable and useful.
A Slow Process
Self-driving vehicles could mean fewer automobile accidents and more safety for motorists and passengers, but working out the kinks is a tricky process. Autonomous cars can operate almost flawlessly and follow rules to the letter, so integrating the vehicles onto roadways with imperfect drivers who sometimes do not abide by every traffic law is not always a smooth process. Still there are always kinks, and even computers can make mistakes when the conditions change and the algorithm fails to notice and make the appropriate accommodations.
When Accidents Happen
According to Tech Times, 94 percent of motor vehicle accidents that take place in the U.S. are caused due to human error. This number is flat-out staggering and it is hard to believe that eliminating even a portion of this error will have a huge impact. This obviously shows how valuable self-driving cars are, but these vehicles can only do so much to combat unsafe driving. Negligence occurs when a motorist’s behavior causes an accident that was otherwise preventable, and those injured due to an irresponsible driver can file a personal injury claim in civil court to recover expenses relating to a crash.
Finally, with the holiday party season upon us and alcohol consumption at a record high, it is nice to dream about having those 13 martinis and hopping in to your Google Car and arriving home safely. Sorry Uber.