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Should Uniform Accident Reports Be Changed To Account For Autonomous Vehicles

November 18, 2017

Atlanta Car Accident Attorneys Address Whether Uniform Accident Reports Must Change To Account For Autonomous Vehicles

Accurate crash data is important for law enforcement officers, officials from the department of transportation, and other safety agencies to have so they can understand trends in accidents and address safety concerns. Assembling accurate databases permits "stakeholders" to promote safe roads locally, such as setting up speed traps on an interstate, or examining larger collections of data to determine whether speed limits should be adjusted to foster safer driving. 

The Governors' Highway Safety Association just released the latest version of the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria (MMUCC). The MMUCC is updated every five years. The document sets out the minimum requirements for crash reports used by law enforcement and other agencies. Its most recent edition accounts for the probability that automated cars will be on the roads within the next five years. As a result, they wanted to be proactive and include the changes now so they will be in place when autonomous cars are on the roads rather than wait five years for the next opportunity to publish new guidelines.

Advancements in the automotive industry are occurring rapidly. Experts anticipate that several thousand autonomous vehicles will be sharing the roads with traditional vehicles by 2020. However, industry experts expect that there will be 4.5 million autonomous cars on the road by 2035. Many companies are announcing plans to develop and produce autonomous cars. Many of these ventures involved in designing and producing driverless cars are actually software and computer technology companies rather than traditional automotive ones. As a consequence, driverless cars might be here before we know it. Some states passed legislation that governs the testing and use of autonomous cars. Many more will follow suit given the rapid progress the technology is making.

Having standardized reporting guidelines in place will assist law enforcement, and other entities study autonomous vehicles as the technology develops. Analysis of the data on a broader scale is only possible if law enforcement uses standardized codes to describe the circumstances of an accident involving autonomous vehicles. The current edition of the MMUCC leaves some areas open on the crash report for officers to describe the event. For example, the officer could enter information in that particular field about the failure of vehicle software to operate correctly. Later versions of the MMUCC will codify that information.

Many transportation experts see an immediate need to implement vehicle technology to increase safety. Fatal car crashes are on the rise in Georgia and across the nation. Nationally, motor vehicle fatalities exceeded 40,000 and have not been that high since 2007.  The consensus among transportation experts is that more people are driving at this time because of cheap fuel and a strong national economy. Increasing the amount of vehicular traffic increases the chances of having a crash. Autonomous vehicles are seen as a way to make the roads safer by eliminating human error. 

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Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.