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Are Self Driving Cars Really Going To Be Ready Anytime Soon?

December 14, 2017

Will Self Driving Cars Be a "Safe" Reality?

In early November 2017, a self-driving shuttle bus crashed in Las Vegas. The shuttle was active for only a few hours before it crashed. It began its maiden voyage two hours before after a ceremony announcing the shuttle’s launch. Although it was successful, that fateful trip calls into question the efficacy of the program as well as the notion that self-driving or autonomous vehicles are even close to becoming a reality. The technology might not be as reliable as industry leaders might have you believe.

At Montlick & Associates, we strive to ensure our clients who were injured in auto accidents receive the highest level of representation. Our car crash attorneys possess the knowledge, skill, and experience to fight to hold those who caused your injuries responsible aggressively. If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries in a motor vehicle accident, contact our attorneys today to learn about your legal rights as well as what steps can be taken to protect those rights.

The Las Vegas Crash

Fortunately, no one suffered any injuries when the self-driving shuttle bus crashed into a semi-truck. Several people were in line waiting to board the bus when the crash happened. Police cited the truck driver for a traffic violation as a result of the accident.

A video from inside the shuttle shot during its first trip shows the passengers enjoying themselves. The shuttle does not have a steering wheel, pedals, and is also missing other equipment traditional vehicles normally have. Instead, the shuttle operates with a person trained to monitor the computer program that is running the vehicle. It reportedly can brake automatically or manually if an object crosses into its path, provided that, like all other vehicles, it has time to stop.

The autonomous shuttle was not designed for high-speed travel. It is capable of riding at 25 miles per hour and would be programmed to run at fifteen miles per hour as it carrying people through and around the Las Vegas strip. The shuttle’s maximum occupancy is fifteen people, but has seatbelts for eight.

The American Automobile Association of America (AAA) sponsored the shuttle as a means of engaging the public in a discussion about vehicular safety. AAA estimates that 30,000 to 40,000 people die every year on America’s roads. Human error causes approximately 90 percent of those fatal accidents. An argument can be made that removing human drivers reduces the risks inherent with driving in today’s society.

Autonomous Vehicles Do Not Eliminate Crashes

In 2016, a man was killed when his Tesla was in autopilot mode and struck a tractor-trailer truck that crossed in front of the Tesla. The Tesla failed to stop and rode under the tractor. The driver had had his hands off of the wheel for 37 minutes when the crash happened. 

The crash involving the Tesla is not the only one. Many reports involving accidents with autonomous vehicles indicate that the other person is at fault. However, one crash in San Francisco demonstrates what an operator can encounter when transferring from self-drive to manual drive mode. A Nissan Leaf crashed into a parked car when the operator removed the vehicle from self-drive mode back into manual operation. The driver lost control of the car and it crashed. Fortunately, no one was injured in the collision.

Potential Pitfalls With Autonomous Vehicles

The most prominent difficulty facing autonomous vehicle manufacturers might best be described as an ethical dilemma. Self-driving cars would be programmed to stop or avoid an impediment that appears in its way. If the vehicle cannot stop, what happens next? Does the vehicle turn itself into a smaller profile impediment? What if that smaller profile impediment is a mother walking with a child? By contrast, a human operator in full control of the car might have the chance to avoid the collision altogether or slam into a wall instead of taking out a pedestrian.

Software that is foolproof is another requirement before the autonomous car can take over the driving responsibilities from human operators. Think of all of the computer software that we use on a daily basis. Our laptops, smartphones, internet connections, and other devices upon which we rely occasionally fail, lag, or need restarting. Worse yet, some of our devices acquire viruses or get hacked. An autonomous car, however, can be prone to such issues and we do not yet know the repercussions of mainstreaming the technology.

Self-driving cars may also require accurate and up-to-date maps. Roadwork, accidents, and unexpected delays can render maps useless unless they are updated in real time. If the vehicles do not have highly functioning sensors, then the vehicles cannot navigate around these obstacles.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 38 Years Of Legal Experience To Work For Your Case!

If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident caused by someone else's negligence, contact Montlick & Associates today for your free consultation with an experienced Auto Accident Attorneys in Georgia. Montlick & Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over 38 years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.

Your Time to File a Claim is Limited By Georgia Law

There are time limitations for bringing a claim. Be sure to read our "Georgia Statute of Limitations" page for more information about important deadlines that effect your ability to file an injury claim. We also provide a "A Guide to Personal Injury Law in Georgia" that will help you better understand the laws the affect your case.

No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.


Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law
17 Executive Park Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
Telephone: 1 (800) LAW-NEED
Telephone: 1 (404) 529-6333  

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.