Did you know that Ohio is scheduled to become one of the largest test areas for self-driving cars? In June 2018, then-Governor John Kasich broke ground on a testing center in Marysville. The center, run by The Ohio State University, is three times larger than Disneyland, and it includes a number of test tracks where people can experiment with self-driving cars. But that’s not all. Four cities in Ohio have agreed to allow these self-driving cars on the street alongside other motorists. This has the potential for disaster in the form of numerous auto collisions.
Self-Driving Cars in Ohio
As of December 2018, four Ohio cities – Columbus, Athens, Marysville, and Dublin – have agreed to allow self-driving cars on the road in record numbers. A handful of other cities, including Cleveland, Youngstown, and Springboro, have expressed their interest in this program, which is run by DriveOhio. This same program is responsible for the Marysville self-driving car testing center. Although it isn’t clear exactly when these self-driving cars will appear on the roads, when they do, there will be around 1,200 of them out there circulating alongside traditional vehicles.
On top of this, the city of Columbus has launched an autonomous vehicle-run shuttle service. Called May Mobility, it consists of three self-driving vehicles that make a loop around the Scioto Mile from 6 am to 10 pm each day. The rides are free, and there are four seats in each vehicle, as well as a human back up driver, just in case something goes wrong. While this is an interesting leap forward technologically, it’s very risky for the other drivers on the road.
Fatal Uber Accident
Everyone’s fear of self-driving cars came true in March of 2018 when a woman died due to an accident with one of these vehicles. The woman, Elain Herzberg, a 49-year-old resident of Tempe, Arizona, was crossing the road in front of a self-driving Uber vehicle when the crash occurred. The vehicle failed to make a required emergency stop when she stepped out in front of it because its safety features (which included an emergency breaking procedure) were turned off. Although a human driver was behind the wheel, the car was being operated by the computer. Due to the lack of the emergency breaking features, the alarm that would have alerted the driver to take over and hit the brakes didn’t go off. As a result, Herzberg was killed. This shouldn’t have happened. Self-driving vehicles need to undergo more testing before they are unleashed on public roadways.
On top of the Tempe, Arizona accident, there have been two other related fatalities in recent years. The first took place in Williston, Florida in 2016. The man behind the wheel of the self-driving car, a Tesla Model S, didn’t stop when a tractor-trailer turned in front of it. The driver, Joshua Brown, was in the car when it went underneath the tractor-trailer at full speed. He was killed instantly. The second incident occurred in Mountain View, California in 2018. That driver was in a self-driving Tesla Model X. The car’s computer, which was doing the driving, became confused by the painted road construction lines on Highway 101. It crashed into two other vehicles and then burst into flames, killing the driver. The people in the other two vehicles survived, but their lives were negatively impacted by the accident.
New Element of Danger on the Streets
It’s clear that these self-driving cars, while supposedly being the “way of the future” are also hazardous to other drivers on the roads. Too many things can go wrong. The emergency braking features could be turned off. The computer that drives the car could become confused and swerve into another lane or even oncoming traffic. Since the average driver can’t tell which vehicles are self-driven (due to the human “back up driver”), these cars create a precarious situation. They are a potential danger to everyone around them, including the pedestrians. Until the technology has advanced to the point that it’s fool-proof, the potential for danger is very high. Other people on the road could end up in fatal accidents due to these autonomous vehicles. That’s a loss of life that shouldn’t have occurred.
Hurt In A Collision With a Self-Driving Car?
If you were in a car crash caused by a self-driving autonomous vehicle, then you have options. The other driver, which in this case, includes the vehicle’s manufacturer, might be at fault. You need to contact me in order to receive the compensation that you might be due. I’ll fight for you and I’ll Make Them Pay!®