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Self-Driving Cars Pose New Dangers as Technologies Improve

As your lawyer, I do everything in my power to get you results.- Jim Hurley

Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

Self-Driving Cars Pose New Dangers as Technologies Improve

Self-driving technology in cars is certainly moving into the fast lane, with new breakthroughs announced every month.

 While safe-driving cars are meant to make our trips safer, they also raise a raft of new safety and liability concerns and questions.

Google pioneers self-driving cars

A Google self-driving car

 Even in non self-driving cars, we have seen a drive to increased automation. Many car manufacturers have produced various methods of making their automobiles more autonomous. An example of these technologies is adaptive cruise control, which allows drivers to engage a form of cruise control that keeps adequate distance between cars on the road. Other brands also have employed assists that keep drivers within their desired lane of travel, in case they begin to wander.

 All of these technologies are powering the transition from cars that are driven, to cars that drive themselves. The notion of self-driving cars has been explored by the automobile brand Tesla, with its Autopilot software. Tesla manufactures high performance electric cars that can steer, park, and ultimately drive themselves. They can even be “summoned” from a parking spot to their driver waiting in another location. Google is also developing a self-driving car.

 With these rapidly growing technologies, there will undoubtedly be a steep learning curve for motorists to get used to cars that drive themselves. Whether you’re in the “driver’s” seat of one, or you’re driving near a car on autopilot, it can definitely take some getting used to. There have been several accidents reported involving self-driving cars.

 It’s far from reassuring that Google is developing sticky surfaces for the front end of its self-driving cars, so as pedestrians will stick to the hood if and when they are hit. Google says this safety measure will mitigate the amount of injuries associated with their self-driving car. This idea seems a bit foolish, and also alarming.

The concept of accidents in self-driving car and indeed self-driving trucks, opens up a whole new legal realm, in which the driver may not be held liable due to the fact that the car was driving itself. Autoblog recently noted how Tesla owners are already trying to place blame on the manufacturer for incidents that happen while the driver is not in control of the car. Tesla seems to consistently blame the driver for these incidents. These types of disputes are new and will probably become more prolific as manufacturers produce more of these autonomous vehicles.

 Self-driving vehicles raise other alarming questions such as what happens if they are hijacked or terrorists use them to carry out attacks.

 With all forms of technology, especially new forms, malfunctions are bound to occur. A malfunction in a car’s autopilot feature could result in a serious accident. While these new technologies are exciting, and do seem to foreshadow the future for automobile transportation, they must be welcomed with a sense of caution.

At Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers we see a wide variety of car, truck, and motorcycle accidents. Motor vehicle accidents are very serious. We urge drivers of these new cars to use caution. If you or someone you know has been injured in a vehicle accident, please call the Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at (757) 455-0077 for a free consultation. With these new technologies there are a lot of moving parts that complicate situations. Our firm would be glad to answer any legal questions you may have.

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John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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