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Will Self-Driving Cars Mean More Distracted Drivers?

Will Self-Driving Cars Mean More Distracted Drivers

Semi-autonomous vehicles mean assisted driving. Does it also mean more distracted driving and driver complacency in Nelson or surrounding Counties or will it create safer roadways?

Distracted driving is already a problem for Nelson County residents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driver distraction is the leading factor in most vehicle crashes. Nearly 80% of crashes and 65% of near-crashes involve some form of distraction within three seconds before the event. Self-driving, also known as semi-autonomous cars, will likely add to the problem.

What Distracts Drivers?

Kentucky defines distracted driving as “any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving and increases the risk of crashing.”

Among the reasons distracted driving crashes nationwide claimed 3,166 lives in 2017, or about 8% of all traffic fatalities, are phones, food, kids, pets, reaching for things, eating, grooming, adjusting the radio… The list goes on. Really, anything that takes your focus away from driving is a distraction.

In the estimated 37,000 fatalities per year that occur in the United States due to car accidents, statistics by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) say that approximately 16% were due to distracted driving of some kind. That’s about 6,000 people killed each year as a result of distracted driving. To put it even more starkly, that’s 15 people a day.

How Could Self-Driving Cars Add to the Distraction Problem?

Currently, self-driving features in automobiles mean “assisted driving.” Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems can adjust steering and braking, but these types of vehicles still rely on a focused human to do most of the driving. While these features have the potential to save lives, they can also put people in danger.

As self-driving vehicles evolve, it’s feared that so will driver complacency. This means some people will focus even less. Calling, texting, emailing, shaving, etc. will give way to drivers who decide to watch full-length movies, which will take up even more of their brainpower, and have nothing to do with driving.

What’s next, napping while driving?

Even though drivers of these cars are told to stay alert to driving, some believe that they can just lean back and let the car do the work.

It’s Not the Cars, it’s the Drivers

Some are quick to point to the cars and their AI, claiming the technology is faulty. But in reality, drivers cause most semi-autonomous car accidents.

California has the most semi-autonomous cars on the road today. Between 2014 and 2018, it was found that people were responsible for 81 of the 88 accidents involving these cars.

Whether you encounter a distracted autonomous car owner or the distracted driver of a conventional car, they can be held liable for any accidents they cause. Driving while distracted is negligent driving. Kentucky follows the rule of pure comparative negligence, so if you’re injured by a distracted driver, you can file a claim regardless of your degree of fault. With an experienced Nelson County personal injury lawyer, victims may be able to achieve a fair amount in damages through negotiations or litigation.

Trust McCoy & Sparks – Premier Personal Injury Attorneys in Nelson County

Recognized as Nelson County’s best law firm for over a decade and counting, McCoy & Sparks works to help people in trouble, representing thousands of clients in Central Kentucky with a focus on providing premium service and delivering superior results. Regardless of the type of case, our goal is to develop a strategy that best serves your personal needs, then draw upon our courtroom skills to help you reach the best possible result. We start by getting to know you. Next, we will explain all your options, giving you the pros and cons of each choice so that you will be empowered to make informed decisions. You owe us nothing unless we recover compensation for you. Make the right call to 1-844-4KY-WINS for a risk-free consultation with one of our attorneys today.