You may have heard that a self-driving car crashed recently in Arizona. A woman was crossing the street at night, in front of the car, and it did not detect her in time. She was hit and killed by the vehicle.
A driver was in the car at the time, and the driver was supposed to act in an emergency to take control away from the computer. The person was unable to do it fast enough to stop the crash.
What you may be wondering, then, is if the same thing could happen close to you. People cannot buy self-driving cars yet, but they are being tested. This one was operating for Uber, but it is not the only company using them.
The short answer is simply that yes, this type of accident could happen in North Carolina. The state has passed laws making it legal to test self-driving cars on active roads. It is one of 21 states to do so. The others, in alphabetical order, are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Vermont.
You may notice that Arizona is not on that list. The reason is simply that 11 other states are participating in the testing not through laws, but through executive orders from their governors. They are Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Ohio, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
That means that you may wind up driving near self-driving vehicles in the majority of the United States. If you’re ever hit and injured, it will be very important to know your legal rights, as these cases promise to be rather complex.
Source: USA Today, “Uber self-driving car kills a pedestrian. Could this happen where I live?,” Marco della Cava, March 20, 2018