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Will self-driving cars be in fewer accidents?

The reality of driverless cars keeps moving closer and closer toward us. One day soon, and we don't know when that day will arrive, autonomous vehicles will be moving us around the city. But will driverless streets and highways truly be free of car accidents, as many people hope?

A recent New York Times article suggests that driverless vehicles might be safer that cars driven by humans, but that we might well demand that those future vehicles go faster than today's speed limits, compromising the safety of autonomous vehicles in the process.

The Times article made its point by citing an economics study that showed that seatbelt laws didn’t really save lives because, in response to the laws and perceived safety of the belts, people drove faster and got in more accidents – and drivers were then protected to a greater degree by the seatbelts required by law.

The theory goes that we might have the same response to driverless cars, demanding that they go faster and get us through hazardous weather conditions, thereby causing accidents.

Of course, driverless cars will have some tremendous advantages over autos piloted by humans; autonomous vehicles won’t get distracted, won’t get sleepy and won’t get drunk.

The Times article noted that driverless cars might make dealing with the legal aftermath of accidents simpler. After all, there will likely be digital images recorded by the vehicles involved, making it clear which party is responsible for the damages.

Today, distracted, speeding and even drunken drivers will often try to escape being held accountable for the injuries they cause. However, an experienced personal injury attorney can help victims pursue full and fair compensation for all damages.

Source: New York Times, "Self-Driving Cars Will Make Accident Claims Easier," Casey B. Milligan, April 2, 2014

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