When a car runs a stop sign and causes an accident, it usually means the driver is at fault. But, what if there’s no driver? This is a major question that needs to be answered as self-driving cars change from theory to reality.
For over 100 years, we have created a legal landscape that is able to compensate people for losses from unintended consequences from driving. From laws that deal with getting a license, registering a car, and insurance requirements, we have created rules to keep people on the roads safe. We’ve also created rules to compensate the victim if a driver damages a person or a person’s property.
But, when there’s no driver, it can be more difficult to find out who is responsible. Was the owner of the self driving car doing something wrong, or was there something wrong with the car itself? Just the possibility of that kind of finger pointing can mean that resolving claims will take longer and be more difficult.
For now, it might seem nice to hear about how great it’s going to be when you can get in the car, ask it to take you to work, and then get an extra few minutes of sleep. But, there will also be negative consequences, and these questions must have answers before driving cars become as common as automatic windows.