BOISE and NAMPA, Idaho. Even as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigates the recent Tesla crash in which a car’s autopilot may be to blame, Tesla continues to make announcements about the future of the auto industry and the self-driving car. The crash, which took place in Florida, in which the car’s autopilot was engaged, is being called the first documented death involving a self-driving car. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is still undergoing an investigation into the technology and it is unclear why the accident took place. Fortune notes that Tesla has no current plans to disable the autopilot systems in its car models. In fact, Tesla has recently announced that it plans to put electric trucks, and self-driving tractor trailers on the road.
Many believe that putting self-driving trucks on the road could reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by semi-truck accidents. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in 2014, 3,978 large trucks were involved in fatal accidents, and another 90,000 people were injured. In many cases, these accidents occur due to driver error. Drivers are subject to strict regulations, including hours of service laws, that are designed to prevent them from getting behind the wheel when they haven’t had time to properly rest. A driverless semi-truck would eliminate the potential for drowsy drivers to make fatal errors behind the wheel. As it stands, fatal errors can cost families and victims thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses. Families may struggle if a loved one has to miss work or undergo costly rehabilitation. The Boise and Nampa, Idaho semi truck accident lawyers at the Law Office of Johnson & Lundgreen offer compassionate and caring legal assistance to individuals whose lives have been impacted by truck accidents.
Yet, before autonomous trucks can hit the road, automakers will need to show that the technology is sound. There are several major issues that will need to be addressed before fully-autonomous vehicles can be released. For one, software can be subject to glitches and crashes. Software that runs an autonomous vehicle must be able to keep running, no matter what. Maps may also need to be improved as well. In the Tesla crash, reports suggest that the driverless vehicle’s system was unable to distinguish between a bright sky and a truck. Imaging systems will have to be improved to address these glitches. Finally, ethical questions, will also need to be addressed. In a case where a car could either save its passengers or other people, what should the software do? The answers right now are unclear.
When semi-trucks are involved in accidents, the consequences are often much greater for everyone involved. The loads truck carry increase the risk of injury or death in the event of an accident. This is why truck drivers and companies need to make sure their drivers are trained and that their equipment is safe. Sadly, in some accidents, companies fail to properly repair their equipment or place pressure on their drivers to meet unreasonable schedules. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a truck accident—know your rights. Visit johnsonandlundgreen.com to learn more.