Michigan at Forefront of Technology's Impact on Traffic Safety
When it comes to traffic collisions, experienced injury attorneys know a driver is most often at fault. Common causes of Detroit accidents include distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, failure to yield and fatigued driving.
Of course, winter weather is a serious threat right now, with Fox2 and other outlets reporting the new year has brought mostly delay and frustration for the human drivers still stuck behind the wheel.
Then there are the computerized drivers now rolling among us. As the Free Press reports, the ethical issues of interacting with us mortal motorists are as complex as who lives or dies when man meets machine.
This is not technology on the distance horizon. Waymo, a Google-affiliated company, is among those already testing self-driving cars on the roads of Michigan.
Autonomous Traffic in Detroit - Innovation vs. Preservation
Some $80 billion has already been spent with the expectation of putting tens of thousands of vehicles powered by semi-autonomous technology on the road in the coming decade. The technology is being touted as a way to reduce the 35,000 deaths on the nation's roads each year, even as the U.S. Department of Transportation has acknowledged that "no consensus around acceptable ethical decision-making" has been reached.
One Daimler executive met with significant criticism for saying the company's autonomous vehicles would prioritize the lives of their passengers over anyone outside the vehicle. The company later said the executive had been misquoted.
What that means is that a motorist in a self-driving car facing collision with a full school bus could be sacrificed by technology, even if a human driver would have decided to act in their own best interest.
Traffic accidents: Determining fault and liability
Computers are not capable of self-interest; they do what they are told. But the power of self-interest cannot be overstated when it comes to human drivers and their passengers. A study conducted by the University of California found motorists generally agreed that self-driving technology should make decisions based on killing or injuring the fewest number of motorists. However, those same people reported that they would be less likely to buy a car in which their family or friends could potentially be killed in an accident in which the self-driving car decided to prioritize the lives of others.
Few safety advocates would be surprised to learn those same people worry about driver distraction, even while using a cell phone behind the wheel. The fact is, our own driver behavior or the behavior of other human motorists most often leads to injury of a passenger, friend or loved one.
Michigan law, Section 257.602b, prohibits texting while driving. But as far as distracted driving laws goes, it is far from being among the nation's toughest road rules.
Resolving to be a better, safer driver in 2018 does not have to be time consuming or difficult. Avoid distraction at the wheel. Allow yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. Wear your seat belt. Pay particular attention at intersections. Don't follow too closely and always be prepared to yield the right of way.
Human drivers are likely to remain the most dangerous part of the equation, even if there is no one at the wheel in that car passing you on the freeway. That's why, in the event of an accident, you need the advice of an experienced Detroit auto accident attorney.