Who is Liable in a Self-Driving Car Accident in Texas?
Recently during a Public Listening Summit on Automated Vehicle Policy, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) reported more than 1,400 self-driving cars are operating throughout the country.
While that number seems small in comparison to the number of registered vehicles, which totals over 22 million in Texas alone. The DOT forecasts that number will reach roughly 33 million automated vehicles on our U.S. roadways by 2040.
With an emphasis on making self-driving cars an everyday reality, over 80 companies are currently evaluating the technology. With more and more self-driving vehicles on the market, traffic collisions caused by these vehicles are sure to increase.
Does the larger question become who is liable for self-driving vehicle crashes, injuries, and fatalities?
Our personal injury attorneys in Austin, Texas have some insight into this growing market, which is currently estimated to be worth $54 billion.
Is It Legal to Operate a Self-Driving Vehicle in Texas?
Self-driving vehicles became legal to operate in Texas when our legislature unanimously passed Senate Bill 2205 with a 31-0 vote in 2017.
The Bill states that automated motor vehicles can legally use Texas highways if they are insured and equipped with video recording equipment.
While they are legal to drive, determining who is liable during a crash will require an extended investigation.
Here is why.
Multiple Parties May Be Liable for Self-Driving Vehicle Collisions in Texas
While Tesla, Google, and Uber are leading self-driving vehicle technology, traditional manufacturers like General Motors, Ford, and Volvo are all entering the market using proprietary technology of their own.
Self-driving vehicles rely on this technology to operate using onboard computers that collect data from radars, cameras, sensors, and GPS equipment that analyzes the vehicle’s surroundings and determine the vehicle’s position.
The collected information controls the electronically assisted steering to keep the car centered in its driving lane while helping make decisions about its next actions.
The reality is, with multiple moving parts, more than one party and their insurance companies may be liable for the crashes that occur.
Liable parties may include but are not limited to:
- The vehicle’s operator
- Software developers
- Automated vehicle manufacturers
- Parts suppliers
As technology advances, software bugs, hacking incidents, and overall mechanical failures can cause severe accidents with injuries and fatalities without notice. When they do, it is up to our skilled Austin car accident lawyers to pinpoint the liable party, so our clients can receive the financial recovery they deserve.
Contact Our Skilled Car Accident Attorneys in Austin at Glen Larson Law Today
If you have been hurt in a vehicle collision with a self-driving vehicle in Texas, call our skilled Austin personal injury attorneys at Glen Larson Law at or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation.