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Could semiautonomous vehicles make for less safe drivers?

Most people realize that, when at the helm of a traditional car, it is critical for drivers to act safely. But what about when a driver is in a car in which some of the functions are handled by a computer? Are people as aware of the importance of acting safely in this situation?

This is an important thing to ask about in the current era of automobiles. We are moving away from where cars are 100 percent controlled by human drivers, but are still a ways from where the average car out on the road is controlled entirely by a computer. Rather, we are entering a phase where cars will be in something of a hybrid state, with some functions being taken over by computers and others remaining in the control of humans. It is predicted that this hybrid control situation could be present for awhile.

As long as human beings retain some level of control of an automobile, their actions could have major safety impacts, and thus it remains vital for them to act responsibly when driving. However, it appears that drivers might be particularly willing to engage in potentially unsafe conduct when at the wheel of a semiautonomous car.

This can be seen in the results of a recent survey. In the survey, over a third of the individuals polled indicated that they would engage in distracting activities (such as texting, reading, surfing the web, eating and taking photos) at the wheel of an automobile if a computer was handling some of the driving.

This points to the fact that this hybrid phase of automobile control could pose some safety challenges. What do you think could help with keeping drivers safe and responsible at the helm of semiautonomous vehicles?

So, it appears that, in the era of the semiautonomous car, driver safety will continue to be a major issue. Experienced attorneys can help victims of negligent drivers, whether those negligent drivers were at the helm of a traditional vehicle or a vehicle with some semiautonomous abilities, review their legal options.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “The driverless debate: Even in cars that are only semiautonomous, drivers say they'll text, eat and read,” Russ Mitchell, Sept. 22, 2016

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