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Driverless cars may not account for human error

People in New York who are interested in self-driving cars may be disappointed to learn that they might not be available until engineers have ironed out some issues that have come up during testing. Testing has revealed that self-driving cars are incapable of making the minor adjustments and judgment calls that humans do as they are driving, and as a result, they are involved in twice as many accidents as cars driven by humans.

The self-driving cars are not responsible for the accidents, and so far, they have all been minor ones. Most occur because drivers are inattentive or overly aggressive. In one case, a self-driving car pulling into an intersection to check for traffic before turning right on red was rear-ended by another car. A driver had to take the wheel for a self-driving car that was unable to merge in heavy traffic. For the car, it appeared that merging was not possible while a human driver understood that traffic flow would open up to allow it.

As a result, the state of California has proposed some rules for driverless cars including designing cars that allow drivers to take over. Google, which has developed a car that has no manual braking or steering, has expressed disappointment in the proposal.

Whether the cause of a car accident was human error or an error made by a self-driving vehicle, a person might be seriously injured. This can have an impact on both a victim and their family, and insurance compensation may be inadequate. As a result, the victim might want to sue the responsible party. This might be a driver who caused the accident or even the manufacturer of a self-driving car.

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