Legal Issues for Drivers With Autonomous Safety Features

Autonomous Safety Features

We’ve covered before how much these autonomous vehicles are changing the roadways. We’ve all seen the videos of a driver snoozing behind a Tesla or someone trying to “push” past the constraint of the lane assist systems. These autonomous safety features are the next step in vehicle technology. They can help keep people in their lane when they’re not signaling, brake for foreign objects, and coast along at a set speed accommodating changing traffic conditions.

But with all good things, there is a learning curve where we’re not entirely sure what to do next or how to handle ourselves when there is a risk. The law, in particular, is not forgiving when it comes to autonomous systems that fail or were misused by the driver.

If you’ve been injured in any kind of auto accident, it’s a good idea to get a car crash injury attorney in Tampa on your side.

Where You Actively Driving?

In September of 2019, headlines broke along with a viral video of a Tesla driver clearly sleeping while the car drove down a Massachusetts freeway. The driver was using Tesla’s iconic driver assistance tool, “autopilot.” But, Tesla was quick to jump in and point out that the system itself is called Autopilot; it is not to be used without an alert driver behind the wheel.

It doesn’t matter if you have this system in your vehicle or not; you are always responsible for being alert on the road. Additionally, if someone hits you while using this feature, they are still responsible for not paying attention and causing an accident. Sleeping behind the wheel is never an option. It’s absolutely critical that we hold drivers responsible when they take advantage of these types of features.

Faulty Auto-Brake System

Not everything that manufacturers introduce to their market is really ready for constant use. One example is the auto-brake systems in many new vehicles. The idea is that it uses a series of sensors to determine when to brake and how hard. However, many of these systems are failing and causing people to suffer whiplash without a crash from a sudden stop, or to actually crash into something.

Lane Assist Failed to Allow You to Swerve and Avoid the Crash

Vehicles that have lane assist make it extremely difficult to change lanes without having your signal on. However, that’s not something that crosses drivers’ minds when they’re attempting to avoid an accident by getting onto the shoulder.

What happens then? You were unable to avoid the accident, but what does that mean for your crash and your resolution? It is likely that the involved car insurance companies will ask why you didn’t avoid the crash if it was possible. What that means for you is that you may need to fight on fault percentage and show that your car made it challenging or impossible to avoid the crash in time.

Autonomous Safety Features and Legal Risks

The legal risks that come with these vehicles are almost exclusive to the at-fault driver. Meaning that if you were driving and caused a crash because of a faulty auto-brake system, then it is still their fault. They don’t assume the legal risk because of these systems but instead had legal risk from the beginning. If someone is too close to a vehicle and the brake assist doesn’t work, it’s not the car’s fault. It’s the drivers.

The one exception is lane assist. While drivers are certainly expected to avoid accidents whenever possible, if a system made it impossible, then that is not their fault. Yes, with enough force, the driver could have moved over, but in the rush of the moment, that’s not what most drivers are thinking.

Working with Winters & Yonker Your Tampa Auto Accident Lawyers

Tampa comes with a variety of legal issues for drivers, and the PPI process and systems aren’t always so forgiving. So when you’re driving any newer vehicle that has these autonomous safety features, you might need to be more aware of how and when you use them. It’s very possible that the features meant for driver safety are the same features that can prevent you from getting everything out of your claim.

Contacting a car accident injury law firm in Tampa is the first step in creating a private and unbiased review of your evidence and information. We go through the information available, looking for ways to expose the insurance company’s most common corner-cutting. With that in mind, we create a strong case, argue aggressively, and we do all of this in the hope that you’ll get all the compensation you need regardless of factors such as autonomous safety features.

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