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Self-driving car accidents attract media attention

Illinois readers have probably seen news reports about a recent series of accidents involving autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles. The most notorious incident involved an Uber self-driving car that struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona. However, there have also been several crashes involving Tesla semi-autonomous vehicles that resulted in injuries.

Some people, including Tesla founder Elon Musk, have been disturbed by the media coverage of these accidents. They feel that reporters should focus on traffic fatalities caused by traditional vehicles, not on the growing pains of a new technology designed to eliminate car crashes. To prove his point, Musk claimed on Twitter that the death rate for regular vehicles is 1 in every 86 million miles, but Teslas have a death rate of just 1 in 320 million.

However, studies suggest that those statistics don't represent driving conditions in the real world. A RAND study found that self-driving vehicles need to log billions of miles before it can be proven they are safer than regular vehicles. Meanwhile, a University of Michigan study found that consumers won't accept autonomous vehicles until scientists report with 80 percent confidence that self-driving cars are 90 percent safer than those driven by humans. To do that, autonomous vehicles need to log up to 11 billion miles in real-world conditions, which would take decades. Until then, media scrutiny of this unproven technology will likely continue.

When people are injured in a car crash caused by another driver, they may wish to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. This type of civil action is designed to help them recover damages such as medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. Accident victims could learn more about their legal options by speaking to an attorney.

Source: Jalopnik, "The Problem Isn't Media Coverage Of Semi-Autonomous Car Crashes", Ryan Felton, May 16, 2018

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