Most of us have heard, read, or perhaps participated in, discussions about the incredible benefits increased driving automation could potentially bring in terms of highway safety. These benefits are largely due to the fact that a large number of automobile accidents are caused by driver error of some sort. Automobile automation could largely eliminate such accidents once it becomes mainstreamed.
When you are involved in a car accident, you may not immediately register just how violent such an accident really is, especially if you only received a blow to the head and no other visible injuries.
In our previous post, we pointed out that the trucking industry is heavily regulated. One set of truck safety regulations that has received a great deal of attention in recent years is the hours of service rules. These rules are intended to address the problem of truck driver fatigue. Although driver fatigue is not exclusively a problem among truck drivers, it is a particular concern in the trucking industry due to the long hours trucker drivers spend on the road and the pressure to maximize productivity.
In any personal injury case, the plaintiff is required to present sufficient evidence to prove each element of the claim against the defendant and to support damages sought in the claim. Personal injury or wrongful death claims based on allegations of negligence generally require proof of four elements: legal duty; breach of legal duty; causation; and harm. Essentially, the plaintiff has to show that the defendant failed to abide by his or her legal obligations and thereby caused harm to the plaintiff.
Previously, we began looking at the use of government accident reports in personal injury litigation. As we’ve noted, government accident reports can have value for plaintiffs in personal injury or wrongful death litigation, but the issue of admissibility needs to be adequately addressed. Not everything written in government accident reports is necessarily admissible at trial.
In our last post, we mentioned a recently released NTSB report which provided numerous details about a crash out in Florida last year involving a Tesla Model S. As we noted, the report shows that the driver was found to have ignored warnings provided by the Autopilot system, but the NTSB provided no definitive conclusion about what actually caused the crash.
A government report concerning a high-profile accident that occurred last year in Florida was just released, providing new information about the accident but without coming to any definitive conclusions. The report, which was released by the National Transportation Safety Board, concerns a fatal crash involving a collision between a Tesla Model S and a large truck.
In our last post, we began discussing the need to address the issue of liability in light of increasing motor vehicle automation, and the advisory guidance released last year by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As we noted, the agency’s guidance leaves a number of regulatory matters squarely in the hands of the states, including automobile insurance regulation and liability, but a more defined approach to regulation has yet to be implemented at both the state and federal level.
Previously, we looked briefly at the push to include automatic braking technology in new models of motor vehicles, and the promise this technology holds with respect to improving highway safety. This is true, of course, of automatic driving technology in general. The effort to make these technologies more available on the mass market is largely driven by the desire to cut out human error and thereby reduce motor vehicle accidents.
Automatic driving technologies, and automated driving in general, is an important emerging issue in the world of automobile manufacturing. The promise of increasing highway safety through use of this technology is great, but the regulatory structure surrounding automatic driving technologies is still developing.