Over the past few years, the advent of self-driving cars has brought much controversy and conversation regarding the safety of the technology. While early versions of self-driving technology have presented some challenges, it is expected that self-driving technology will continue to improve. However, the widespread use of self-driving technology presents both legal and practical questions.
The primary concern with self-driving technology is the safety of those on the road, including motorcyclists. Currently, motorcyclists are disproportionately represented in statistics recording fatal accidents. While motorcyclists account for only 1% of the population of drivers, they account for 14% of all traffic deaths. However, according to one industry news report, as the self-driving technology becomes more popular in newer models of vehicles, the dangers for motorcyclists may decrease.
The article uses left-turn accidents as an example. Left-turn accidents currently account for roughly 1,000 motorcyclist deaths per year, but these accidents rarely involve any fault on the part of the motorcyclist. In fact, most of these accidents are due to a driver either failing to see the motorcycle or failing to properly judge the speed at which the motorcycle is approaching. However, with self-driving technology, it will be possible for the two vehicles to “communicate” with each other, eliminating the chance that the car’s operator is unaware of an approaching motorcycle. Additionally, sophisticated algorithms will determine the speed at which an oncoming vehicle is approaching and prevent a motorist from pulling in front of a motorcycle, decreasing the risk of an accident.