Driverless Cars Present New Legal Questions in Connecticut and Across the Country

Some believe driverless cars are the future of transportation. To be sure, driverless cars have certain advantages, one of which is that most car crash deaths are caused by driver error, such as distracted driving and excessive speed. However, driverless cars also raise new legal questions and safety concerns in Connecticut car accident cases and throughout the country.

Charging StationFor example, there is a question of who the “driver” is in a driverless car accident. Depending on the technology involved and the circumstances of the accident, it may be the person behind the wheel, the manufacturer of the vehicle, a rideshare company, or a technology company. While in most car accident cases, the question is whether a driver acted negligently, in driverless car accidents, the question may center around whether there was some design defect in the vehicle or the autonomous technology.

While some of these issues have arisen in the wake of driverless car accidents, as time goes on and the technology becomes more prevalent, courts will be required to tackle myriad unanticipated issues involving the new technology. A recent accident in Arizona was the most recent to involve these issues.

Uber Driverless Car Suspended After Deadly Accident

The state of Arizona suspended Uber from testing driverless cars after one of its cars hit and killed a woman in the state, one news source reported. This was the first death resulting from a fully autonomous vehicle. Evidently, the 49-year-old woman was walking a bike across the street at around 10 p.m. when she was hit by the driverless car. She died soon afterward at a local hospital. Video from the crash showed the backup driver looking away from the road before the crash.

Arizona’s Governor recently released a letter he wrote to the company, stating that Arizona’s Department of Transportation was suspending Uber’s ability to test driverless cars on public roadways in the state. In the letter, the Governor said that he found the video of the accident “disturbing and alarming” and that his top priority was public safety. Uber had already suspended its driverless car operations after the accident, but it stated it would keep a dialogue open with the state. The company stated that it suspended all of its self-driving operations in all cities after the crash.

Local police are investigating the crash, as well as the National Transportation Safety Board and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Uber has reportedly reached a settlement with the family of the victim, although the terms of the settlement are unknown.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 22 states have passed laws allowing for the operation of autonomous vehicles in some capacity. Connecticut’s governor signed a law in 2017 allowing manufacturers and fleet service providers to test autonomous vehicles in the state. The cars are required to be tested in controlled testing areas.

Have You Been Injured?

If you or a loved one has been injured, you may be entitled to compensation. At Brickley Law, we represent individuals in New Canaan car accident cases as well as cases in the surrounding areas. When you trust our New Canaan lawyer, you receive the caring and experienced representation you deserve. At Brickley Law, we understand the relevant laws that apply to your case and are prepared to offer you our knowledgeable assistance. With aggressive strategies, creative approaches, and effective methods, we can help you pursue the results you deserve. Call Brickley Law now at (203) 599-3600.

See Additional Blog Posts:

Wrong-Way Car Accidents in Connecticut, Connecticut Injury Lawyer Blog, March 5, 2018.

Connecticut Court Finds Car Dealership Not Liable for Accident Involving Car with Dealership License Plate, Connecticut Injury Lawyer Blog, March 26, 2018.

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