With the recent advent or arrival of autonomous or “driverless” vehicles, it’s obvious that the future has arrived in Ontario Province. Little did we know that technologies such as anti-lock braking systems and cruise control would be the forerunners of vehicles that are able to drive themselves without human intervention. Science fiction you ask? It may seem like it. However, one thing is certain. They are a reality and so are many liabilities that will exist whenever they are involved in an accident. And that is why the services of a personal injury lawyer in St. Catharines will be never-ending.
Testing actually began as early as 2016
The testing of driverless vehicles on Ontario’s highways and roadways began with the approval of a pilot testing program in 2016. Few restrictions were placed on test vehicle companies other than requiring that a licensed driver be in them in case anything goes wrong. Based upon the type of technology the vehicle is equipped with, there are six levels based on the technologies associated with each one as follows:
Level 0 – vehicles equipped with driver-engaged cruise control only
Level 1 – limited driver-assisted autonomous features such as adaptive cruise control and technology that keeps the vehicle in its lane
Level 2 – vehicles equipped with features that offer very limited driverless capabilities
Level 3 – vehicles with more driverless capabilities than Level 2 vehicles, but will have a driver present to take over driving responsibilities once a certain speed is reached
Level 4 – vehicles that will still have a driver present for conditions that cannot be handled autonomously (e.g. bad roads and weather)
Level 5 – totally autonomous/driverless capabilities; no driver required
As of today, Level 3, 4, and 5 vehicles have been authorized for test drives.However, due to a couple of misadventures on the road, it is still not in commercial production.
Autonomous Vehicle Accident Liability
The question of accident liability focuses on whether the driver was negligent while driving their vehicle. With autonomous/driverless vehicles, it’s based on the technology that the manufacturer has built into them. Should something go wrong, the liability would be focused on the technology rather than a driver’s actions or behavior. However, the manufacturer can also be held liable for the injuries inflected upon the accident victim.
As with any motor vehicle accident, an injury victim may be entitled to compensation. In any event, an experienced personal injury lawyer in St. Catharines can ensure that the victim’s rights to that compensation are protected. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it is time to seek damages to protect your rights. It is best to consult with the injury lawyer as quickly as possible after the accident.