Recent Crash Involving Self-Driving Car Raises Questions of Safety for Washington, D.C. Drivers

Self-driving cars were introduced several years ago, but as crashes continue to occur, they raise safety concerns for everyone on the road. Many say that self-driving cars employ safety features that make them safer than other cars and that drivers are cautioned to keep their eyes on the road. However, others say these vehicles are ripe for misuse and multiple crashes seem to support the fact that they present unique safety issues. Victims of a Washington, D.C. car accident involving a self-driving car or a negligent driver may be able to recover compensation from the driver or other entities at fault, as discussed further below.

A recent Tesla crash in Detroit has raised questions about the safety of the vehicle after multiple incidents, as one news source reported. In 2016, a man died in a crash in Florida when the vehicle was on Autopilot and failed to recognize the trailer of a truck crossing the highway. In 2019, another Tesla similarly crashed into a tractor-trailer when Autopilot was engaged. The recent incident in Detroit also involved a Tesla that crashed into the trailer of a truck. The company has not reported whether the vehicle was using Autopilot at the time. As in the 2016 accident, the Tesla drove under the tractor-trailer and tore off the roof of the car. The driver and the passenger suffered serious injuries in the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident, as well as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA reported that it was investigating 23 similar crashes.

The Autopilot system uses radar and cameras to detect vehicles and objects in the road and can steer, accelerate, and brake automatically. The company maintains that drivers are supposed to pay close attention to the road when using Autopilot and should be ready to take control of the car. Yet, critics say that the company lacks safeguards to prevent drivers from misusing the system. Another vehicle with similar features switches off the autopilot when the driver looks away from the road and can only be used on major highways.

Liability After a Crash

Generally, a Washington, D.C. car accident victim may be able to recover compensation from a negligent driver, but other individuals or entities may be liable as well. For example, another individual may have negligently entrusted the driver with a vehicle, an establishment may have negligently served the driver alcohol, or the government may have failed to repair a safety issue in the roadway that caused the crash. Or, if a victim is involved with a crash with a self-driving car, the manufacturer may be liable because the vehicle failed to operate as designed, because it malfunctioned, or because insufficient safety features were in place.

Contact a Washington, D.C. Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you may be able to file a Washington, D.C. product liability claim, negligence claim, wrongful death claim, or other claim based on the circumstances. Holding wrongful actors accountable is an important step in ensuring that other people do not suffer the same harm. The injury lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers provide aggressive representation to Washington, D.C. and Maryland residents who have been injured. Contact them at 1-800-654-1949 or complete their online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

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