Public Blames Accidents on Human Drivers Over Autonomous CarsNovember 18, 2019
In a study that sheds light on perceived fault in car accidents, 5,000 people were asked for their opinions about which driver was responsible in several hypothetical car crashes involving both human drivers and automated driverless technology. The study involved made-up scenarios in which human and computerized drivers shared control of the car. In some cases, the human driver was supported by AI technology that could spot and react to dangerous driving situations that arose. In other cases, a human was present to take over if a driverless car missed something.
Each of the test cases told the story of a car accident in which a pedestrian was struck by a car and killed. The researchers then asked participants to take a positon on which driver was to blame for the accident. In the examples involving errors made by both drivers, those surveyed largely placed blame on both drivers equally, whether the drivers were humans or AI-controlled systems.
Human Drivers Held Accountable
In the hypothetical cases that were presented as involving a mistake by only one of the drivers, respondents tended to hold human drivers more accountable for the accident, while giving the computer-operated drivers a bit of a pass. The outcome of the study, which was published by an international research team in Nature Human Behavior, has some people concerned that real-life cases before an actual jury may interpret car crash liability with the same set of biases against human drivers, thereby letting manufacturers of ineffective or malfunctioning AI-driver systems off the hook.
In an individual case, such a bias surely would be problematic. In a larger sense, however, considering its effects on case precedent, the tendency for people to go easier on computer-driver mistakes may have an impact on case law that could affect car accident liability in a broader sense. The study indicated that lack of perceived liability could be exploited by car manufacturers who may become more relaxed on safety standards. Instead, researchers suggest regulations on the new technology is the only way to ensure public safety.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims Injured by Negligent Drivers
As we face changes in car technology, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to determine who is at-fault when things go wrong in a car accident. Driver error and equipment malfunctions are common causes of car accidents already. If you were injured in a car accident, the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton can help. Contact us online or call us at 800-547-4LAW (4529) for a free consultation today.
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