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Were you injured by a self-driving vehicle?

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The autonomous car industry used to brag that their vehicles never got into serious accidents. Not anymore.

An autonomous truck owned by Uber Technologies, Inc., recently ran into a pedestrian in Arizona. The 49-year-old female victim was crossing a street without using a crosswalk at the time the accident occurred. She later died in the hospital due to her injuries. It is the first pedestrian fatality related to self-driving cars.

Uber has since paused its self-driving technology testing program. 

Are self-driving vehicles safe?

There has been a lot of media fervor over the latest advancements in self-driving vehicle technology. Alphabet, GM, Baidu and Uber have been investing a lot of money into creating fully autonomous vehicles. However, experts on the industry worry that the recent Arizona pedestrian fatality could delay the commercialization process and lead to breakdown in public optimism about the future of the tech.

From a safety perspective, delays in autonomous vehicle use may be a good thing. The primary advantage of self-driving cars is the way they could revolutionize safety by eliminating accidents caused by speeding, drunk driving, distracted driving and other human errors. In this respect, it's vital that authorities ensure self-driven cars are at least as safe -- if not safer -- than human-driven vehicles before they permit them to operate freely on our roads.

Who's liable for a self-driving car accident?

The existence of autonomous vehicle technology creates new liability concerns. In this case, who is responsible when a pedestrian is hit by a self-driven automobile? Is the self-driving car manufacturer or the creator of the software liable for the accident? Is the "driver" or a passenger also to blame? As more lawsuits involving self-driving car crashes arise, it will be important to pay attention to how they are resolved in courts across the nation.

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