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South Florida Plans Future for Self-Driving Cars, but Questions Linger over Safety


Self-driving vehicles are still decades away from being common place on the road, but there is no denying we are headed in that direction. Many cars now already incorporate autonomous safety features, such as back-up warning alerts, automatic lane detection, and forward collision avoidance systems. The majority of car accidents are generally caused by human error, so these features do help protect both the driver and others on the roads, but system errors can occur. As planning officials in Palm Beach outline some of the changes that are likely to take place in our area over the coming years, we look at some of the safety concerns.

Plans for Self-Driving Vehicles in Florida

According to a January 2018 report in the Sun Sentinel, Palm Beach officials are anticipating a massive overhaul of major roads in our area due to the rise in self-driving vehicles over the next decade. In terms of timing, officials predict the following:

  • Within five years: With increases in autonomous technology, sensors will be installed to communicate with self-driving vehicles in lanes and at traffic signals.
  • Within ten years: As self-driving vehicles are used for shuttling passengers, there will be less reliance on buses and other forms of public transportation.
  • Within 15 years: Neighborhoods will be impacted as alternate routes help driverless cars avoid traffic congestion.
  • Within 25 years: As autonomous vehicles take over roadways, roads themselves will become narrower and able to accommodate more lanes.

Self-driving vehicles ‘talk’ to one another, moderating speed and maintaining positioning while taking cues from their environment. This allows them to respond to different situations, while traveling closer together and using up less lane space. Much depends on the way these systems are programmed, and critics claim there are serious glitches to correct before plans can move forward.

Self-Driving Car Accidents

A recent crash in California involving a self-driving shuttle is just the latest in a string of events to raise concerns about the safety of autonomous vehicles. Fox News reports that the accident, which occurred in January 2018, is being blamed on design limitations, along with over dependence on the self-driving technology on the part of the driver.

This is the second self-driving accident the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has been called in to investigate. The first was a crash that occurred in Florida in 2016. That incident was also blamed on the driver’s overreliance on technology, along with design flaws that fail to account for different types of traffic situations. There have been other accidents in California, as well as in Nevada, Arizona, and other places where self-driving vehicles are being implemented.

At the Wexler Law Firm, P.A. we urge you to contact our West Palm Beach car accident attorneys if you have been involved in a collision due to defects in autonomous technology, or if the other driver failed in taking basic safety precautions. We can arrange a consultation to discuss your case and how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.


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