Obeying traffic laws raises autonomous vehicle accident rates

Missouri residents may be surprised to learn that obeying all traffic laws at all times may actually make accidents more likely to happen. This was the conclusion drawn by researchers at the University of Michigan after they studied accident rates involving autonomous vehicles. Self-driving cars are lauded by technology advocates as the last word in road safety, but the researchers discovered that they are involved in crashes at approximately twice the rate of vehicles with a human being behind the wheel.

The blame for this high rate of car accidents is thought to be the way that autonomous vehicles steadfastly obey speed limits and other traffic laws. While this may seem ideal on paper, the research indicates that it can be hazardous in the real world. Merging onto a highway is particularly dangerous for self-driving cars as most drivers see highway speed restrictions as little more than suggestions.

The findings of this research leave the designers of self-driving cars with a difficult decision to make. Technicians at companies like Google have generally worked tirelessly to ensure that autonomous vehicles never behave in ways that could cause accidents or injuries, but the data indicates that they may have engineered vehicles that are too law-abiding. These companies could now be forced by climbing accident rates to program their cars to also ignore traffic laws and behave more like the reckless humans they were designed to replace.

The research into autonomous vehicle accident rates reveals how recklessly many drivers behave. Car accident victims often suffer life-changing injuries, and those who performed physically demanding work may be prevented from ever returning to the jobs they knew and loved. Victims may pursue civil remedies, and a personal injury attorney with experience in this kind of case could file lawsuits on their behalf to hold negligent motorists or their insurance companies financially responsible for their actions.