Injury lawyers will be attracted to Google’s driverless cars like flies to fly paper

Mar 31, 2016, 9:55 AM | Updated: Apr 1, 2016, 6:09 am
This May 13, 2015, file photo, shows Google's self-driving car during a demonstration at the Google...
This May 13, 2015, file photo, shows Google's self-driving car during a demonstration at the Google campus in Mountain View, Calif. The U.S. auto industry's home state of Michigan is preparing for the advent of self-driving cars by pushing legislation to allow for public sales and operation _ a significant expansion beyond an existing law that sanctions autonomous vehicles for testing only. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)
(AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)

Cars don’t kill people, people kill people. So let’s take the people out of the loop, KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross says.

That’s exactly what Google is trying to do with its driverless cars, which recently received a letter from regulators stating that the software that controls the vehicles can be considered a driver.

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The positive, Dave says, is that if Google is the driver, people would no longer be held accountable for crashes.

Former Attorney General Rob McKenna says that may be true, but it depends on what equipment is in a car. If a driver can take control at any point in time, it may complicate the issue. A human who takes control of a vehicle before a crash could be considered at fault.

Google would like to see cars become completely autonomous, as that would help reduce the potential for error. After all, humans are the primary cause of deadly crashes. The latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that 32,675 people died in crashes in 2014, just a few hundred less than 2013.

If cars did become completely autonomous without any allowed human interaction, all liability would be placed on the software, Dave points out. If that is the case, driverless vehicles would be like fly paper for personal injury lawyers, because the company responsible for the software has deep pockets.

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

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Injury lawyers will be attracted to Google’s driverless cars like flies to fly paper