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Would Self-Driving Cars Make Distracted Driving Worse?

If you’ve been following the news lately, you may have heard that some considerable progress has been made in the world of self-driving cars. And although there’s much work to be done, it appears that we are getting closer to a world in which vehicles are semi-autonomous, allow us all to sit back and relax as we travel to our destinations.

However, some critics are concerned that semi-autonomous cars will only serve to worsen the problem of distracted driving. This is because the vehicles are unable to adjust to every single situation, and current models alert the driver if he or she needs to take over to avoid certain hazards. Thus, if motorists are not paying attention, thinking the car has all driving-related tasks covered, they may not be ready to assume the controls and prevent a crash.

In a recent example, the driver of a Tesla car died after the vehicle’s Autopilot failed to detect a large truck in the road. Early reports indicate that the driver did not even attempt to apply the brakes before hitting the truck, suggesting that he likely was not paying attention to the road at the time of the collision.

Distracted driving on the rise

As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports, just over 35,000 people died in traffic accidents across the country in 2015, a notable 7.2 percent increase over the 32,744 who died in crashes the year before. Experts believe that smartphones and other distractions are largely to blame, along with the fact that there are simply more vehicles on the road on a year-over-year basis.

Only time will tell if self-driving vehicles will improve traffic safety on America’s roads and highways. In the meantime, if you are involved in an auto accident and you believe another party’s negligence was to blame, meet with an experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer at McMenamy Law LLC.