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Will human error be avoided with self-driving cars?

Consumers wary of autonomous vehicle safety and fatal crash illustrates human error may not be able to be eliminated as a crash factor.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has made it clear that over 90 percent of serious vehicle accidents that happen in the United States are caused at least in part by human error. With more than 30,000 people dying on American roads every year, it is no wonder that companies are looking to self-driving cars as one way of helping to stop the bloodshed and loss of life.

Human error may not be completely avoidable

Most people in the country have likely heard about the man who was killed in 2016 while riding in a Tesla in fully autonomous mode. According to USA Today, shortly before that deadly crash, the vehicle instructed the man to put his hands on the steering wheel but the man did not do as instructed.

In addition, the car manufacturer is said to have noted that it recommends humans maintain a grip on the steering wheel even if the vehicle is in self-driving mode. The driver of this car reportedly only had his hands on the wheel for approximately 30 seconds out of the more than 37 minutes the car was in autonomous mode.

It seems that even a vehicle designed to be fully self-driving cannot prevent human error from being a factor in a crash .

Consumer trust for autonomous vehicles

In the case of the Tesla crash, the self-driving car itself did not prevent a death and the human driver's lack of participation may have even been a factor. With this in mind, it is interesting to know how trustworthy drivers are of these vehicles.

In the 2017 J.D. Power U.S. Tech Choice Study, it was found that most American consumers have less trust in fully self-driving cars than they did a year before. Out of all age groups surveyed, only one returned an increase in trust level.

A multi-country poll conducted by Gartner found similar results with the majority of respondents saying they would not be passengers in autonomous vehicles.

Safety features are accepted

While not showing a great readiness to adopt fully self-driving vehicles, consumers do indicate a strong preference for vehicles with some autonomous technologies included. Features that directly aim to improve safety like the addition of cameras in mirrors or lights that adjust to conditions on their own are sought. In many cases, people may even accept a higher price tag for vehicles with these technologies built into them.

Help after an accident remains important

Vehicle accidents may remain a reality of life regardless of the type of vehicles that are on the roads. With this in mind, Washingtonians should always be ready to get the help they deserve after a collision by talking with an attorney who can advocate for their rights.