In California and across the United States, there has been a rise in vehicles with advanced technologies that allow the performance of certain tasks without the driver. Although this can be a positive development in many situations, the technology is still in its infancy stages and safety concerns are prevalent. Researchers are assessing driver-assist to determine how dangerous it can be and providing recommendations to enhance safety. Still, when accidents cause serious injuries and fatalities and it may be due to misuse of driver-assist, it could be the foundation for a legal filing.

Organizations scrutinizing driver-assist

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has joined with other entities including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and U.S. Congress in scrutinizing driver-assist. A key finding was that the driver cannot divert their attention from the vehicle even if it is in self-driving mode. The problem with these innovations is that they are not advanced enough to fully control the vehicle, but drivers might become complacent.

There have been auto accidents in which the vehicle was equipped with driver-assist. A Tesla Model X crashed as its Autopilot was in use. The driver died. It was later found that the driver was in the middle of playing a game on his phone. IIHS suggests that the driver-assist does not have sufficient protections to make sure the driver is engaged.

The most advanced system vehicles can currently have – Level Two – can control various aspects of the vehicle including how it accelerates, its steering and when it brakes. Drivers who believe that these systems render their intervention meaningless are causing danger on the road. IIHS recommends that the vehicles have a camera to watch the driver and monitor behavior, sense driver adjustments, and have alerts if the driver is not paying attention.

After an accident

After an auto accident, personal injury can lead to medical expenses, lost income and long-term problems in a person’s life. If there is a fatality, the family left behind will need to think about funeral costs and how they will move forward in a personal and financial way. Drivers can be under the impression that driver-assist allows them to multitask or not pay attention at all. A law firm experienced in auto accidents can investigate the case, determine how the accident happened and take the necessary steps to file a lawsuit.