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Driverless Cars Are Probably Not Coming to a Dealership near You Anytime Soon

Posted on behalf of Harbin & Burnett on Dec 23, 2013 in Auto Accidents

In an age where technology, rules driverless cars are what most people dream of. Stress, dangerous road conditions, and negligent drivers are just a few issues drivers deal with while behind the wheel. Although many hope that a driverless vehicle will enhance their experience, mass tort laws could quell the latest technological breakthrough before it actually breaks through to consumers.

Taking Toyota's litigation involving unintended acceleration into consideration would indicate that although car manufacturers are on the cusp of such great technology, much still has to be done.

Due to a stoppage of a set of software functions, certain Toyota models would keep accelerating unless the driver turned the car off and on. Toyota introduced electronic throttle control in 2002 but it wasn't until the mid-2000s that issues with it came to light. Since then, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed by victims of serious car accidents.

A software expert who testified in the case of a fatal car collision involving a 76-year-old driver said that a single bit flip could cause uncontrolled acceleration when the vehicle was on cruise control according to the Wall Street Journal.

Additionally, the expert claimed that the software failure was consistent in this particular case and more likely than not a factor in the crash. A government study that looked into the Toyota incidents found that 62% involved drivers over the age of 65 and 41% were drivers over the age of 75.

There are many factors that come into play such as software failure and driver age, however, it doesn't dismiss that this problem led to serious accidents and injuries. Due to the Toyota mass tort claims, will driverless car cease to exist?

Google has continued to move forward in hopes that driverless cars will one day rule the roads. States such as Nevada, California, and Florida have all passed laws that would permit the testing of such vehicles on their roadways.

It is estimated that Google has successfully driven more than 500,000 accident-free miles in these driverless vehicles. However, the amount of miles driven does not even come close to the billions traversed by Toyota owners before a defect was found.

With Toyota in talks to settle nearly 400 state and federal lawsuits, will other auto manufacturers even consider building such vehicles or is the risk of losing millions simply too much? There are many questions consumers would need answered such as can the driverless option quickly be disengaged, will older drivers benefit from such technology, will a driverless vehicle be safer or could it lead to more accidents?

Consumers could fail to be enticed as they could be risking their own well-being operating a vehicle with autonomous control so dont expect to see this type of revolutionary technology at your local dealership anytime soon.

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