Recently, there was a huge development in the regulation of self-driving vehicles: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released information about 392 car accidents involving vehicles with driver-assistance technologies over the span of 10 months. While the information is meant to be used to inform the agency about safety trends, NHTSA officials said that there was not enough data to draw conclusions from it, yet.
Release a Result of First Active Regulations Against Self-Driving Companies
The release of information was the result of some long-overdue regulation by the NHTSA.
Last year, the NHTSA issued a standing order to carmakers to report crashes involving their vehicles that had self-driving or driver-assistance technologies. Those reports had to include details about the accident and about the technologies included in the vehicle.
The demand for information was hailed as long-overdue, as the NHTSA had almost no information or hard data about the perils of self-driving vehicles, and had only opened investigations into Tesla's Autopilot system.
Teslas Involved in Most Crashes, But That Means Little
The reports only captured 392 incidents between July 1, 2021, and May 15, 2022.
In those accidents, there were six fatalities and five serious injuries.
The vast majority of these accidents, 273 of them, and five of the fatalities involved Teslas that were using Autopilot technology or any of its features. 90 incidents involved Honda vehicles, while Subarus were involved in 10. BMW, Ford, General Motors, Hyundai, Porsche, Toyota, and Vokswagen were involved in five or fewer, each.
However, Tesla’s automated vehicles seem to be far more popular than other automaker’s attempts at automation. Importantly, the data still does not include the number of vehicle miles driven. Without those numbers, it is impossible to tell whether one carmaker’s automated vehicles are more likely than others to crash, or whether automated vehicles are safer than manually-operated cars.
Variety of Driving Functionalities Complicates Data
Another important factor in the data is the fact that it includes all vehicles with driver-assistance technology. Some, like Tesla’s Autopilot mode, have the ability to take nearly full control of the vehicle. Others are limited to specific tasks, like staying inside a highway lane. But most of the fully-automated vehicles are still only being in specific low-speed situations.
For example, 130 of the incidents involved automated vehicles that were being tested on public roads. Most of these were fender benders, with 108 of them causing no injuries and only one causing a serious injury. Furthermore, in nearly a third of these accidents, the automated vehicle was completely stationary when it was hit by another motor vehicle. In 11 more, the automated vehicle was going straight and in its own lane when another vehicle cut it off and caused the collision.
Car Accident Lawyers at the Smith Law Office in St. Joseph
While too limited to detect trends, the NHTSA’s report is an important first step towards regulating self-driving vehicles and those that provide driver assistance.
The personal injury and car accident lawyers at the Smith Law Office help accident victims recover the compensation they deserve in St. Joseph, Springfield, Kansas City, and the rest of western Missouri. Contact them online or call their law office at (816) 875-9373.