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Self-Driving Car Strikes Public Bus in California

Think driverless cars can’t get into accidents? Think again. Last month, a self-driving car being tested by Google collided with a California public bus on Valentine’s Day, according to an accident report filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Google reported that the car was attempting to drive around some sandbags on a city street when it struck the right front side of the bus. The car has been traveling at 2 mph, while the bus was going 15 mph. The car’s safety driver reported that he thought the bus would yield. This is the first of about a dozen reported accidents involving self-driving test cars that was caused by Google car.

The tech firm had been testing two dozen Lexus SUVs outfitted with cameras and sensors near their headquarters in Silicon Valley. There were no injuries, and the report was posted to the DMV website. The report did not include any information on fault.

Self-driving cars raise a number of important legal as well as moral questions about what lies ahead for drivers in the future. If a person is injured in a collision involving an autonomous vehicle, who can be held liable? Do self-driving cars shield their “drivers” from all liability, or can they still be held accountable if someone is hurt or killed? Is the software to blame for failing, or is the driver to blame for failing to override?

Proving that self-driving cars can share the roads safely with human drivers has been a significant challenge for companies testing the technology. For now, at least, it seems that we should still keep a healthy skepticism when it comes to thinking that driverless cars will solve all of our transportation problems. And even after these bugs are all worked out, we’ll still be left to grapple with bigger questions of liability when it comes to accidents in the future.

The Washington, DC car accident lawyers at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata, Siegel, P.C. have handled thousands of car accident cases over decades of practice. Our lawyers are licensed in Maryland, DC and Virginia. If you are involved in a car accident in Maryland, DC or Virginia, and are seeking representation for a personal injury that you suffered, please contact the firm today.