Self-Driving Vehicles and Car Accidents in Colorado

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By: Bill Henry
PublishedSep 13, 2016
2 minute read

Have you noticed any Tesla Model S cars on the road in Colorado? Numerous residents have invested in Tesla Model S vehicles, which, although not yet fully autonomous, offer the ability to “switch lanes autonomously and parallel park,” all without any movement from the driver. But could some of these vehicles actually result in car accidents in Colorado?

An article in The Denver Post emphasized the perks of autonomous vehicle technology, suggesting that self-driving cars might be able to help limit traffic and prevent auto accidents. A Colorado Public Radio report underscores technology advocates throughout the city are hoping that Denver will become “a national center for self-driving cars,” since it is “in the running for the Smart City Challenge, a contest where one medium-sized city will receive a $50-million grant to test out new transportation technologies.” But are self-driving cars truly safe for use?

New Technologies in Colorado to Prevent Car Accidents

According to the article in The Denver Post, many transportation planners in Colorado believe that autonomous technology might be among the best ways to prevent traffic collisions in the city. As the city continues to grow, car accidents and congestion are becoming more of a problem. Yet some experts suggest that self-driving cars could be the answer. Indeed, as the article points out, “university researchers and the federal government expect self-driving cars to become common in the next decade or two and say those offer the greatest potential for reducing traffic congestion.”

And even if self-driving cars do not become common as soon as some expect, the Colorado Department of Transportation believes that increasing technology is the best way to limit accidents and to prevent serious traffic problems throughout the city. Technological advances that are in the planning stages—in addition to self-driving cars—include “real-time road information systems” and “on-ramp access signals that adapt to conditions to smooth today’s bottlenecks.”

Potential Problems with Self-Driving Cars and Automated Technology

For some, investing in technology seems to be a way to ensure fewer car accidents in Colorado. Others, however, have suspicions about automated technology and, in fact, are worried that it could result in preventable auto accidents. According to a recent article in The Guardian, self-driving cars simply are not yet safe for everyday use on America’s roadways.

The article cites a recent fatal collision in which a Tesla Model S—the very car being driven in Colorado—crashed into a large truck while its Autopilot was engaged. Engineers suspect that one of the problems that resulted in the accident involves “sensor fusion,” or the vehicle failing to recognize the proper sensor to prevent an accident. The article goes on to cite other crashes involving driverless cars, emphasizing that if we attempt to put these vehicles on the roads before they (and potential drivers) are ready, we could actually see an uptick in collisions.

Our Colorado Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help with Self-Driving Car Crashes

If you or someone you love recently suffered injuries in a traffic collision, one of the experienced Colorado car accident lawyers at our firm can help. Call 303-688-0944 to begin your case assessment.

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