By: Ashley Mitchell
In March 2018, an Uber fatally struck Elaine Herzberg. This accident was extraordinary because the driver was not operating the vehicle at the time of the crash; it was in autonomous mode. This tragedy raises many questions about the future of cars without drivers. For now, Uber has removed self-driving vehicles from the roads. But as we look to the future of cars without a driver, we must ask: what is the insurance liability when a crash occurs?
Every 5 seconds there is an automobile accident and ninety-four percent are caused by human error. Auto accidents can cause property damage that is costly to repair, and bodily injury, which generates medical bills. Auto insurance covers the cost of property damage and bodily injury and is mandated in forty-nine states. Highly automated vehicles (HAV) are designed to eliminate drivers and rely on an automation system, subsequently reducing human errors and the number of auto accidents. Yet, it is unclear if insurance will cover the cost of damages or if the manufacturer will be held liable when a highly automated vehicle is involved in an accident. Legal liability is one of the biggest obstacles to widespread utilization of HAV technology.
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