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Driverless cars back on the road: insurance liability concerns

Many remember the disastrous situation that occurred when one of Uber's driverless cars hit and killed an Arizona pedestrian. This fatal incident led to the company's decision to take their cars off populated roads.

Now, Uber is sending their autonomous cars back on the road, and the New York Times reports that the cars are operating at reduced speeds and in safer settings. While the company is attempting to keep pedestrians, as well as the individuals riding behind the wheel, safe this time around, there could still be issues for insurance companies as well as the defense attorneys who represent them.

How will this affect insurance?

Due to the fatality in March, Uber is attempting to make the self-driving cars safer. The company has released an extensive safety report which states how they plan to prioritize the safety of individuals inside and outside the vehicles. One of the main changes the company made was to have at least two Uber employees in the vehicle while it is driving autonomously. In case of emergency, they will be able to use the brakes to avoid a collision.

As driverless cars progress and become more popular, insurance companies may need to create new regulations and plans to accommodate. In terms of liability, insurance companies may need to determine how much control the driver had over the situation. Whether or not the driver could have prevented the accident may establish whether or not the manufacturer of the car is responsible, or the individual behind the wheel.

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