Just another PLM WordPress site
A Message From the President of the Delaware Trial Lawyers Association, Stephen T. Morrow, Esq
Recently, both locally and throughout the nation, there has been much discussion about self-driving cars (also known as autonomous vehicles). On March 11, 2018, The News Journal published an article titled “Delaware works to be on cutting edge of self-driving cars; shuttles at UD are next” and more recently, on April 11, 2018, it published an article titled “AAA survey: Delaware drivers still concerned about the safety of self-driving vehicles.” Proponents of this technology emphasize that self-driving cars are safer than human-driven cars because, by taking human error out of the driving equation, fewer accidents and deaths will occur on our roads.
Unfortunately, on March 18, 2018, Elaine Herzberg, was walking her bicycle across a street outside of a crosswalk on a four-lane road in Tempe, Arizona when she was struck by an Uber-operated Volvo XC90 SUV engaged in automated driving. Video of the crash, released by the Tempe Police Department, shows Ms. Herzberg in the middle of the street when she was struck, not jumping from the bushes as some initially claimed. At the time Ms. Herzberg was struck, there was a safety driver in the vehicle, but initial reports suggest that neither the vehicle nor the safety driver braked before striking and killing her.
This unfortunate and unnecessary death only highlights what we all must remember: automated driving is a for-profit service, not a safety technology. Companies are racing to put a product onto our roads to provide mobility services for the lowest possible cost. Citizens should not be deceived into believing that this self-driving vehicle technology will operate flawlessly, as this crash proves otherwise.
Lawmakers should remain skeptical that this self-driving technology will deliver the safety and efficiency benefits that are being promised by Uber, Waymo (Google’s self-driving car project) and other companies developing self-driving vehicles. While it is still true that this technology could provide significant safety benefits in the long term, such gains may never be achieved if a lax regulatory environment and tools like forced arbitration permit the most dangerous technologies to succeed.
In the race to make autonomous vehicles a reality, victims, like Ms. Herzberg, should not be forgotten. The Delaware Trial Lawyers Association will continue to work with interested parties to ensure that the citizens of Delaware have a voice when discussing the impact of this self-driving technology.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by negligence, the Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow will help you find the answers you need to hold the responsible party accountable. To schedule a free consultation, call our Wilmington office at 302-427-0099, our Bear office at 302-834-8484, or our Milford office at 302-422-6705, or you can contact us online.