Self Driving Trucks are Hitting the Road… What if they Hit You?
Five years ago Uber launched a test version of a self driving truck. The trip was short, but successful.
Today, there are a half dozen or so companies that are trying to tap into the driverless truck market. In an industry where the driver shortage is expected to crest 160,000 in a few years, it’s a big push to get this technology perfected.
There aren’t many self driving trucks on the road today. But they are out there. And you need to know your rights if you happen to get hit and injured by one of these things.
How Safe are Self Driving Trucks?
Automated vehicles have come a long way in just a few years. But there is still much work that needs to be done before safety can be relied on completely.
The NHTSA defines automation in stages from Level 0 to Level 5, with 0 being no automation and 5 being no driver. Currently automated trucks are sitting around a Level 3. That is, in most situations they can drive themselves (stretches of highway, even with turns and varying driving conditions). However, there are companies that are working on Level 4 trucks that are able to drive in all situations with a human merely paying attention if things get wild.
But how safe are these trucks? Can we drive comfortably next to them on the highway?
94% of auto accidents are caused by human error. So, in a world of all automated vehicles, our highways would actually be a lot safer than they are now. But there are a few problems with fully automated trucks.
First, vehicles are yet to be able to communicate with each other. Someday, when every vehicle is hooked up with the capability to broadcast signals, and a truck can be alerted of a stopped vehicle miles ahead. For now, they can “see” the stoppage, but it could be too late before that time.
Second, trucks can’t stop quickly for obstacles in the road. That includes animals and people. If you’re crossing the road, legally at a cross walk, the truck may not sense you in time to stop before hitting you.
While self driving trucks will solve a lot of problems, at the moment they need to get better safety marks before people can fully trust them.
Who is Liable in a Self Driving Truck Wreck?
So, what happens if you’re in a wreck with an automated truck? Normally the driver is the first person to be looked at for liability. Without a driver, you can’t hold a machine liable.
Instead, we have to look at a variety of other factors.
- It might be the trucking company that is liable by putting a truck on the road that wasn’t ready.
- It might be the truck manufacturer who didn’t install the right safety equipment.
- It might be the computer engineer that developed the AI in that self driving truck.
Or it might be someone else or another company entirely. Truck wrecks are complicated, and without a good semi truck accident lawyer, it’s hard to navigate the legal mess that could result after a wreck.
Herbert Law Group is Your Truck Wreck Lawyer
Here at Herbert Law Group, we have helped a lot of people after their accidents. Any time you get in a wreck, and there is injury or death involved, you will need the help of a personal injury lawyer on your side.
We help you heal by taking away the stress of dealing with insurance companies.