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Old 06-18-2014, 06:25 PM   #1
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Default Possibly legal question

At the risk of becoming (or perhaps continuing to be) this forum’s “guy with the weird thoughts” let me ask if anyone can explain what will become of liability and such when our cars (as they speedily are) become self-driven or self-directed.
Even with things like Side Assist and ACC who gets sued (to think like an American) when I get rear-ended or crashed into by one of these cars? Likewise, if a self-parking car rams or sideswipes my car when it is pulling into or out of a parking spot?
Does the owner of the vehicle suffering the injury or damage go after the other driver (human), the car owner, the car manufacturer who designed the self-driving or self-parking feature, or perhaps the government for allowing such robotic devices? I am serous in asking this since I have a very real concern about how we think as a society (Americans). The very word “accident” annoys me at times, when collisions or such that I see or hear about seem to be physical inevitabilities. The driver who slams into another vehicle after 24-plus hours of driving without sleep is not, to my way of thinking, involved in an accident. In the instance of a driver trying to pass on an icy road with summer tires, the same in my view. If you are driving along employing your best due diligence and a wild turkey flies into your windshield (as happened to a buddy of mine) the resulting loss of control and carnage seems to be a real accident, but many collisions do not seem accidental to me. Unintended, certainly, but not accidental. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.
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Old 06-18-2014, 07:29 PM   #2
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The driver is always the one "in control" and should be liable. Can get out of a speeding ticket if your cruise control doesn't maintain a legal,speed so doubtful you could blame an accident on a failure of the ACC. That being said, i do worry about that technology since it doesn't detect stopped cars or red lights and surely someone will have an accident when they are inattentive or overly reliant on technology.
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Old 06-18-2014, 09:55 PM   #3
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<<<@!1!@>>>

Audi has videos of driverless cars that are self parking....

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Old 06-19-2014, 02:51 AM   #4
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Unfortunately, stupidity is not illegal and is tough to legislate against. If you drive through a speed trap at 39 in a 35 limit then you are doing something illegal and will be punished with a fine and/or points. If, however, you were on the same road but without the speed trap and you side swiped another car then it would be considered an accident and, assuming that there were no injuries, then there would be no consequences for your actions.

Inconsiderate, bad or dangerous driving is not illegal in the USA, it is so rampant that the authorities have given up trying to give tickets for it. As speed is easily defined then that is all the cops care about for easy revenue generation.

Tomorrows world has law schools licking their chops over the "autonomous" vehicles. Yes, the driver is responsible but his pockets are limited. The deep pockets of the manufacturer will be the card that is so high and wild that the lawyers will never need to deal another.
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Old 06-19-2014, 04:57 AM   #5
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Inconsiderate, bad or dangerous driving is not illegal in the USA, it is so rampant that the authorities have given up trying to give tickets for it. As speed is easily defined then that is all the cops care about for easy revenue generation.

Tomorrows world has law schools licking their chops over the "autonomous" vehicles. Yes, the driver is responsible but his pockets are limited. The deep pockets of the manufacturer will be the card that is so high and wild that the lawyers will never need to deal another.
You're (unfortunately) correct on both counts. I cannot believe how "all about me" so many drivers are these days: no concept of right of way and things like that. "Consequences"? - an archaic concept I am afraid.
I better may sure some of my 6 grand kids become lawyers - lol!
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Old 06-19-2014, 06:24 AM   #6
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To answer the OP's question, in the American tort system you sue everyone with any connection. To maximize your payout, you particularly go after the few with "deep pockets". This may very from case to case, but the "deepest pocket" of all is the manufacturer. Why do you think Porsche is being sued for an unsafe Product when two wealthy gentlemen loose control, smack a curb or pole, and are immolated in the aftermath?

Our tort system is in serious need of change, but our government is run by and for attorneys. Rant over....you are now returned to our regularly scheduled programming.
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Old 06-19-2014, 06:40 AM   #7
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Inconsiderate, bad or dangerous driving is not illegal in the USA, it is so rampant that the authorities have given up trying to give tickets for it. As speed is easily defined then that is all the cops care about for easy revenue
I was a State Trooper for 8 years and I would both agree and disagree.

There are plenty of laws to enforce that fall into these catagories: following too close, failing to maintain a lane, driving in the passing lane when not passing, and the generic "careless driving" type laws.

As you pointed out though, these are more ambiguous and subjective and require more work on the officers part, a higher chance of ending up in court, etc.

There are plenty of "mindless radar monkeys" as we used to call them, cops who basically just have a number in their head..i.e. anyone going more than 10 over gets a ticket. I knew guys that would ticket their own mother. The fact is that speed alone, is rarely the cause of an accident. Going 10-15 over on a straight, dry, uncongested highway is almost never a safety issue.

There are plenty of cops who "get it" though. I knew a lot of Troopers like me whose "other reckless driving" citations outnumbered their speeding tickets 3 to 1 or more.

As to the OP, I would say the criminal liability will fall on the driver...to follow all manufacturers recommendations on the equipment. Civil liability is another issue...follow the money.
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Old 06-19-2014, 07:50 AM   #8
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There are states, already, that treat traffic incidents as "no fault" where each person's insurance becomes primary on their on damages. From what I've heard, that's the approach being considered for driverless vehicles.
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:12 AM   #9
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I think that will make people buy the latest vehicles because the biggest, fastest processors will allow you to get a "good driver discount" even though you weren't the driver!
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Old 06-19-2014, 01:14 PM   #10
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This is the biggest question that our legislators have to figure out. Here in CA where self-driving vehicles are legal on the street for testing purposes, the manufacturer is liable for anything that happens involving one of their vehicles. We are a long way from self-driving cars in the hands of the average Joe. Not because of technology or cost, but because the laws have to catch up first and we all know how slow that process is. I'm sure the manufactures want some kind of protection from the law or it would be unsustainable for them if they were made liable for any accident involving one of their self-driving cars.
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Old 06-19-2014, 01:14 PM
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