Self-driving cars are popping up all over the country, but the number of autonomous vehicles in California seems unparalleled. The mere existence of these vehicles has sparked controversy among some groups. Some opponents argue that the technology used to give a car the ability to maneuver our roadways is still in its baby stages and hasn’t progressed through enough safety testing–leading to more accidents.

However, proponents of autonomous vehicles argue that removing humans from a car’s driver seat could be the best thing that has ever been done in the name of vehicle safety. So, do claims that driverless cars are more dangerous than the average vehicle actually hold any water?

Are Autonomous Vehicles Any Safer than the Average Vehicle?

You might be surprised to learn that most of our “autonomous” vehicles on the roadways today are not actually self-driving. The complete list of vehicle autonomy levels is:

  • Level 0: Total driver control without assistance.
  • Level 1: Minor forms of driver assistance, like cruise control and lane-keeping.
  • Level 2: Partial driving automation, but the driver needs to be ready to take over at any given moment (such as Tesla’s Autopilot).
  • Level 3: The vehicle can perform most driving tasks, but human override is still required.
  • Level 4: Vehicle does not require human interaction in most circumstances.
  • Level 5: Completely autonomous and does not require human attention.

Most vehicles on the roads today that we would refer to as “self-driving” actually only sit at an autonomy level of 2 and are only considered to be partially automated.

While driverless vehicles may be better at following traffic laws, a human driver would not hesitate to break the law to save a life or prevent a more serious accident–such as choosing to cross a double yellow line to prevent hitting a pedestrian. This sense of decision-making and regard for human life may never be something a human can program into a vehicle.

However, the safety benefits of self-driving vehicles are supreme. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 94% of severe car accidents are the result of human error. Meaning if all vehicles in the United States were fully autonomous, 32,900 of the 35,000 lives lost in motor vehicle-related crashes every year could potentially be spared.

Today, with most “self-driving” vehicles running on level 2 autonomy (meaning a human would need to be alert at all times and available to operate the vehicle at any given moment), the human driver would probably be found liable for an accident. So, to answer the question of whether self-driving cars are causing more accidents in California–technically, the answer is no, because the human would most likely be found to be at fault for any crashes that occurred.

Were You in an Accident with a Self-Driving Car in Beverly Hills? Seek Legal Help Today

Setareh Law is a highly accomplished personal injury law firm that has been fighting for clients in Beverly Hills for over 13 years. We continue to remain attentive to our clients and still provide the highest quality service after all of this time. Our team is highly accomplished, and we are dedicated to helping victims of self-driving car accidents recover the compensation they are entitled to.

We aggressively advocate for the rights and interests of each and every client. Call (310) 659-1826 or complete an online contact form today to set up a free case evaluation. Our law firm runs on a contingency fee basis, meaning you only pay us a fee if we get you results. We understand the burden of pursuing a legal claim and take great pride in being there for you during your time of need.

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