Things that seemed technologically impossible years ago are now every-day commonalities as advances in science, computers, and engineering continue to grow.
No one would have believed that people would all be carrying portable phones and computers around with them, and the thought of driverless cars and trucks was a fantasy until just recently.
But the fantasy has become reality and prototypes of cars controlled by computers are now out on the road. Unfortunately, with every advancement there are sometimes very costly errors.
The first reported death in a Tesla Model S crash while the Autopilot was activated has been shaking the Tesla and self-driving car community. The tragic accident happened May 7th in Florida, news outlets only learned of the event last week when Tesla revealed that the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched preliminary evaluation in Tesla’s Autopilot system.
The investigation is in the very early stage, but it’s possible that the car’s forward facing camera, sensors, and radar interpreted the truck to actually be a bridge, and therefore “assumed” the car would be able to drive under it. What actually happened is the impact tore the roof off the car, and then it lost control. There is a possibility the driver of the car was watching a movie when the accident occurred.
This type of tragic incident is opening a whole new arena in the legal world, which is called robotics law.
Most advances in automobile technology such as seat belts, airbags, and anti-lock brakes were designed to improve safety but still relied on an action by the driver or passengers in order to function. Now the responsibility rests with a machine and it is very murky as to how this will affect court cases.
A division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates nearly all aspects of the trucking industry. How cars and trucks will deal with the infusion of driverless vehicles remains to be seen, as the legal profession also ponders and debates these issues over the next several years.
The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus specializes in accidents involving commercial trucks and has for over 20 years. It is a unique and complex area of the law where special regulations and guidelines apply, and both Gary and Arleen Lazarus are eminently qualified to handle these situations. Please call their Fort Lauderdale office at 954-356-0006 if you or someone you know has been involved in a serious truck-related accident.